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Terry Fitzpatrick insists Chris Casement ban is a disgrace

Published 16/04/2015

IFA Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton offered evidence at the appeal
IFA Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton offered evidence at the appeal

Dungannon Swifts midfielder Terry Fitzpatrick says it's "an absolute disgrace" that Chris Casement will have to serve a six-match ban - ruling him out of the Irish Cup final.

Portadown failed to get the ban lifted after their full-back was accused of a headbutting offence on Fitzpatrick during a Premiership clash at Shamrock Park on March 14.

The IFA Disciplinary Committee upheld the ban after a hearing on Tuesday night, during which the Swifts ace said Casement didn't headbutt him.

The ban commences on Monday but Portadown have a right of appeal and the club, which also supplied video evidence, feel their 27-year-old defender has been the victim of a gross injustice.

Fitzpatrick says he felt testifying on Casement's behalf was the right thing to do and he's angry the red card has not been rescinded.

"If things are going to happen this way then there isn't much point in having these appeals," said Fitzpatrick, who was part of the Swifts squad that lost to Linfield in the 2007 Irish Cup final on penalties.

"I think it's an absolute disgrace that a player should miss the Irish Cup final for something that he didn't do.

"That was the reason I got involved in this appeal because it was the right thing to do.

"I have nothing riding on this matter myself but it means everything to Chris as he will miss the cup final.

"We squared up together during the game and there was some shoving but no headbutt as was alleged. The video evidence shows that but it seems the Irish FA are willing to believe the word of an assistant referee who was about 60 yards away from the incident.

"The referee (Keith Kennedy) felt, on reflection, that both players deserved a yellow card but the linesman had a different view and despite the evidence offered that it didn't happen, the appeal came to nothing.

"To be given a six-match ban over this is an absolute disgrace, then there's the cup final and these matches are few and far between in a footballer's career. I don't know Chris Casement other than playing against him but I was surprised when he told me he had only been sent off once despite playing more than 250 games for Portadown.

"I'm devastated for him and in the end it was a waste of time us putting up our case on Tuesday night."

IFA Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton and Fifa referee Raymond Crangle also offered evidence at the appeal.

Belfast Telegraph

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