Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran will launch new appeal in Gary Hamilton row

By Stuart McKinley

Glentoran will continue their fight to be awarded the points from last month's 4-2 defeat by Glenavon, despite the Irish FA dismissing their appeal against Gary Hamilton's eligibility to play in the game.

The Glenavon player-manager scored twice at The Oval, but the Glens claim that he shouldn't have played, having been sent from the touchline during a match against Linfield a week earlier.

The IFA Appeals Committee published its findings yesterday and while they acknowledge that Hamilton should have been serving a suspension, the result will stand because Glenavon were informed that there would be no automatic ban as Hamilton would be dealt with as a manager and not a player.

The fact that Hamilton scored twice in the game has only served to rub salt in Glens' wounds.

The Glens claim that they have been unfairly treated and will now put their faith in an appeal to the Northern Ireland Football League.

A statement issued by Glentoran read: "It is disappointing and illogical that the IFA, having clearly accepted that we faced an ineligible player whose goals had a material impact on the outcome of the match, has refused to follow the logic of this judgement."

The statement continued: "We are confident that having read the most recent IFA comments on eligibility combined with the clearly defined sanctions for playing ineligible players as outlined in the Fifa disciplinary code, we will be successful in this appeal."

Glentoran’s ire is totally understandable, but Hamilton’s two goals against them last month will stand, as will Glenavon’s 4-2 victory — despite the Irish FA Appeals Committee concluding that he shouldn’t have played in the match.

Indeed, the Appeals Committee’s investigations revealed an error regarding the information given to Glenavon, but the fact that they were told that Hamilton was eligible means the three points remain theirs.

Unless, of course, Glentoran’s SECOND appeal, this time to the Northern Ireland Football League, is successful.

Confusion reigned after Hamilton was sent from the technical area during Glenavon’s defeat to Linfield on November 1, a week before they faced the Glens, over whether he should be considered as a player or a manager when a punishment was handed down, as he was a substitute on the day.

As it turns out both the Irish FA’s and Fifa’s Disciplinary Codes are clear cut and as Hamilton’s name appeared as a player on the match card, referee Mervyn Smyth was right to show him a red card and he should have been subsequently dealt with as a player.

In a lengthy report, which is over 4,500 words long, the Appeals Committee deemed that while Hamilton had been ineligible, Glenavon acted in ‘good faith’ after requesting clarifica2014tion and because of that they decided not to overturn the result of the match.

Hamilton will, however, now serve a two-match suspension, ruling him out of Glenavon’s games against Ballinamallard United and Portadown later this month.

The Appeals Committee’s disclosure stated that: “Glentoran submitted to us that, as according to Fifa Article 18, Hamilton was ineligible when he played against them that the only proper result, according to the IFA Code in accordance with the Fifa Code, was to award Glentoran with a 3-0 match win and fine Glenavon accordingly.

“While there is some merit in the Glentoran submission, and it is entirely understandable that Glentoran should suggest it, the Board is not convinced that the overriding objective of fairness and natural justice would be satisfied with this result.”

In a statement of their own Glentoran said: “It is disappointing and illogical that the IFA, having clearly accepted that we faced an ineligible player whose goals had a material impact on the outcome of the match, has refused to follow the logic of this judgement.

“Instead the IFA has attempted to avoid the logical outcome by refusing to accept Glentoran’s right to appeal Gary’s (Hamilton) eligibility.

“We do not accept this approach as either fair or rational.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph