Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran continue Gary Hamilton fight despite setback

By Graham Luney

Glentoran have vowed to fight on in their attempt to claim the points from Glenavon's 4-2 win at the Oval in November.

The Northern Ireland Football League said it could not overrule the decision of the Irish FA Appeals Board on whether Glenavon player-boss Gary Hamilton was eligible to play in the fixture.

However, the Glens responded by stating that they are bringing the case to Sports Arbitration UK with a hearing likely to go ahead next month.

Glenavon had sought clarification on Hamilton before the game and had been told in writing he was clear to play despite being sent off from the dugout a week earlier.

The former Northern Ireland international scored twice in the game and afterwards Glentoran lodged a protest with the IFA's Appeals Board.

The Board recognised that the Irish Football Association's disciplinary body made a mistake when they informed Glenavon that Hamilton was eligible to play but as the information was relayed in good faith, they determined that the Lurgan Blues should not lose the points.

The Glens then turned to the NI Football League but they have said the IFA has the ultimate say in disciplinary matters.

Hamilton is to serve a two-match suspension, starting with Saturday's trip to Ballinamallard United. "The IFA has primacy of position in dealing with club disciplinary matters," stated the NIFL yesterday.

However, Glentoran were unimpressed with NIFL's response and issued a statement which read: "Glentoran FC is very shocked and disappointed at the ruling issued today by NIFL, both in terms of the ruling itself and of the very weak and superficial explanation offered by the NIFL.

"It seems clear that the NIFL has chosen to join the IFA in attempting to lay a procedural minefield in order to avoid simply applying the rules of the game in this matter... Prior to today's latest abdication, Glentoran has had a formal request for arbitration acceded to as is the right of all clubs under the IFA Articles of Association. The matter is now in the hands of Sports Arbitration UK, with a hearing likely to take place in January 2015."

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