Portadown lose 12-point deduction appeal, Coleraine awarded 3-0 win
Portadown were left hugely disappointed on Tuesday when it was revealed that they lost both appeals against Irish Football Association disciplinary rulings.
It means that a 12 point deduction handed out four months ago will stand and that Coleraine have been awarded a 3-0 victory over the Ports for a league game that did not take place earlier this season.
The decision was announced by the IFA just over four hours before Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Germany was due to kick-off sparking suggestions from fans that the governing body were attempting to bury the season defining news.
The IFA Appeals’ Board stated the the 12-point deduction was “a proportionate and fair punishment”.
The Ports - who were informed of the Appeals Board's determination yesterday - had also been battling against the suspension from all football activity that forced the postponement of their trip to Coleraine on the Premiership season's opening weekend.
Pat McGibbon's side will forfeit the game with a 3-0 win recorded in favour of the Bannsiders, who would jump to third place in the standings ahead of this weekend's fixture between the two clubs.
Portadown were hit with a 12-point deduction and £5,000 fine in June after being found to have paid a wage to Peter McMahon, who has since joined Dungannon Swifts, while he was registered as an amateur.
Another £5,000 penalty was imposed, along with a transfer embargo preventing the club from signing players on professional terms until June 2017, after irregularities were found in payments made to former striker Gary Twigg - who, ironically, moved to Coleraine in the summer.
The Shamrock Park side's failure to settle the accumulated £10,000 debt led to the Irish FA suspending the club from football at the beginning of August and, though the fine was eventually paid, the IFA's Disciplinary Committee decided to keep the ban in place, although it was subsequently lifted until the appeal hearing.
Delay after delay ensued, with one meeting postponed because no Portadown officials were available to attend. Another saw the club request an opportunity to submit additional evidence - which they didn't have in their possession at the time, forcing another hold-up - while last Monday night's hearing ended with the IFA promising to issue a "full reasoned decision" within a week.
That self-imposed seven day deadline ended yesterday, when the Ports were made privately aware of the outcome ahead of the public announcement being made today - just hours before Northern Ireland lock horns with the World Champions.
In addition to the Bannsiders' potential climb, Portadown could be lifted to within touching distance of 10th-placed Glentoran, with Carrick Rangers sinking to the bottom of the table.
Major ramifications, but ones that the IFA are clearly hoping that all stakeholders - be they clubs, players, punters or media - are too distracted to notice.