Portadown fail appeal over player payments' fine and transfer ban
Portadown have failed in their appeal over a fine and transfer ban over the the payment of players.
As exclusively revealed by the Belfast Telegraph, the club were found to have breached league rules over the paying of players
In its ruling, the IFA appeals committee said: "This penalty should highlight the view which both the IFA DC and Appeals Committee take of this type of offence and should act as a warning and deterrent to other clubs."
In IFA statement on Portadown case, Dwight D Eisenhower quoted reminding Irish League clubs to have "unquestionable integrity." Seriously!— Steven Beacom (@StevenBeacom5) April 29, 2016
The club had been fined £10,000, but this was reduced by the appeals committee to £5,000.
The punishments were imposed after the Ports were deemed to have brought the game into disrepute by the Irish FA's Disciplinary Committee for making undisclosed payments to players.
The committee said they were not shown evidence that Tim Mouncey had received payment and as such allowed the appeal.
However, in the case of Gary Twigg, the club said he was paid £350 per week for 38 weeks which was fully disclosed to the IFA in line with the rules.
It argued that for the remaining 14 weeks of the year, he was paid as a club ambassador - which was not disclosed - and any breach would be a "technical" one that did not amount to bringing the game into disrepute.
Portadown argued that as they were £18,000 under the salary cap, then there was no risk the additional £4,900 payments could risk them exceeding it.
The committee rejected the club's appeal on the Twigg matter.
They said: "The purpose of the Salary Cap Protocol and the relevant NIFL rules is to ensure that clubs act in a fair and reputable manner.
"In football parlance, to create a level playing field for all clubs.
"Under sections 5 and 6 of the Salary Cost Protocol Regulations, Portadown could have paid Mr Twigg to act as an ambassador (or a barman, cleaner, door steward etc) for an additional 14 weeks.
"However, under those Regulations, the club would have had to inform the IFA that they intended to do so.
"The IFA could then have made an assessment of the purpose of paying a player for a non-playing task. The reason for this is obvious, to prevent clubs paying their star players, or any other player, for other non-playing roles so as to circumvent the Salary Cap Protocol."
The committee continued: "It is vitally important in maintaining sporting integrity in local football that clubs act in as transparent a manner as possible and comply with all relevant Rules and Regulations.
"It is our view that, in the case of Gary Twigg, Portadown did not act with the transparency and integrity which was expected of them.
"Accordingly, we have no hesitation in finding that by not detailing the additional payments to Twigg in his contract that Portadown not only breached Rule 38(a) but also brought the game of football into disrepute."
It said expelling Portadown from the Premiership, relegation or forfeiting points would be harsh.
"However, the offence committed by Portadown must be treated as a serious breach of sporting integrity.
"It is our view that, at the point of signing the contract, Portadown deliberately concealed the fact that Gary Twigg was to be paid an extra 14 weeks wages.
"This information should have been either disclosed to the IFA on the contract or under the Salary Cap Protocol Regulations."
It added: "It is our view that a prohibition on signing new professional players from 12 April 2016 until 1 June 2017 and an immediate fine of £5,000 represents a fair and proportionate punishment for the single offence of bringing the game into disrepute in this case.
"This penalty should highlight the view which both the IFA DC and Appeals Committee take of this type of offence and should act as a warning and deterrent to other clubs."
The committee concluded by quoting words of Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America.
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office."