Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 November 2015

Donegal Celtic’s battle is on and off the field of play

Published 07/05/2009

Donegal Celtic hold the edge entering tomorrow night’s crucial second-leg promotion play-off against Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

There is so much at stake for the Bhoys. A return to senior football or another season in the Championship intermediate grade.

And of course the Swifts are hardly relishing relegation.

A 2-1 lead leaves it tight and with away goals counting double, Swifts only have to win 1-0 to keep their senior status.

But if that happens, then the off-field manoeuvres will come into play as Celtic are appealing the decision by the Premier Interim Board to order the play-off in view of a decision they made back in February when Bangor decided they would be pulling out of the league at the end of the season.

But that February move was against the Premier League and Championship rules and while the Board claim that they have the power to act as they deem fit, that is very debatable as the same rule they are trying to use, says that action will be taken against those who break league rules — something which they have done themselves.

DC only appealed the decision once they were affected by it, athough there is an argument they should have done so back in February when, although not consulted, it was circulated to all Championship clubs.

However, the central point is that the decison that the winners of the Championship would replace Bangor and the Championship runners-up would play the bottom Premier Leauge team, was flawed and unnecessary.

The rule as it stands says the bottom Premiership team shall be relegated which in this case is Dungannon.

The controversy will disappear if Celtic get through, although there is talk of the Premier League submitting a rule change to bring 13 teams into the league next season.

If they do that, then both Celtic and the Swifts will be there although another matter has arisen concerning Dungannon.

As their facilites are not up to standard, they registered Shamrock Park as a ground share. But it now seems that they will not be at Shamrock Park but at Newry City. But that begs the question as to whether a contract was in place before March 31 — the licensing deadline.

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