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Portadown hearing over points deduction sanction adjourned

Danske Bank Premiership

By Graham Luney

Published 13/09/2016

Registration issue: Peter McMahon
Registration issue: Peter McMahon
Watching brief: Portadown boss Pat McGibbon

Portadown's fight against a 12-point deduction for a registration breach will rumble on until next week after last night's hearing in front of the IFA Appeals Board was adjourned.

An Irish FA disciplinary hearing as far back as June ruled that the Ports' former winger Peter McMahon had been paid while registered on amateur forms, but the club are still fighting their corner six matches into the Danske Bank Premiership season.

The mid-Ulster side are also appealing a problem connected to the deadline for payment of fines resulting in a proposed "suspension of football activities" by the disciplinary committee.

Another hearing will go ahead next week when further evidence will be taken into consideration.

Pat McGibbon's side are sitting on minus six points but Shamrock Park chiefs are still hopeful the 12-point deduction can be reduced or even wiped out.

In April, Portadown were also fined £5,000 for a similar breach involving ex-striker Gary Twigg and had a transfer sanction on signing players under professional terms imposed until next June.

The Ports, however, were suspended from playing their Danske Bank Premiership opener at Coleraine after failing to pay the £5,000 fine on time.

An initial cheque to the Irish FA was believed to have ‘bounced’, but by the time the club paid the fine, under association rules the game against the Bannsiders could not go ahead.

Last night’s adjournment is the latest twist in a long running saga which has tested the patience of Irish League fans.

The IFA Appeals Committee hearing had been postponed previously due to parties being unavailable.

The Committee had found that Portadown were “in breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association as evidenced by a breach of Article 38 of NIFL Rules”.

And it concluded: “Whilst Portadown produced a version of the player contract, which they argued supported their case, the Committee relied on the player’s contract as lodged with the IFA as the basis of its determination.

“The Committee had regard to all of the evidence and submissions put before it and determined that a 12 point deduction should be imposed for the 2016/17 season meaning Portadown FC will start the season with -12 points.”

Portadown have the right of appeal, but questions will be asked why all the relevant evidence was not produced last night. The Shamrock Park outfit narrowly avoided relegation, however the points deduction was a nightmare start to this campaign.

A Ports statement read: “Tonight’s appeal by Portadown FC against the IFA 12 points deduction and Coleraine fixture postponement has been adjourned for a further seven days to allow time for additional evidence from both sides.”

An Irish FA statement added: “An appeals board met to consider appeals from Portadown FC against rulings by the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee. Having heard oral evidence from both the committee and the club, the board adjourned the hearing — instructing the parties to submit additional documentary evidence to the board within seven days.

“Once this has been submitted the members of the board will reconvene to conclude their deliberations.”

Belfast Telegraph

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