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Warrenpoint finally relegated after appeal fails

By Stuart McKinley

Warrenpoint Town's attempts to avoid relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership have failed.

Sports Arbitration UK have deemed that the Irish FA's Disciplinary Committee was within its rights to use discretion, rather than the letter of the law, when deciding not to punish Carrick Rangers when their former manager Gary Haveron was found to have been on the sidelines for a match when he should have been suspended, having served a three-match touchline ban in the wrong games.

The decision means that results on the pitch stand and, having finished bottom of the table, Warrenpoint will play in the Northern Ireland Football League Championship next season unless they take the one final avenue open to them, which is to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Having been unsuccessful through Sports Arbitration UK it is unlikely the club will pursue that option.

Ballinamallard United, who finished second bottom, will now face Institute in the second leg of a promotion/relegation play-off at Ferney Park tomorrow night - six weeks after it was originally postponed while the IFA looked into the Haveron case.

In his findings on the case, Nicholas Randall QC said: "I do not consider that, even if I had the jurisdiction to do so, that I would feel able to categorise the Disciplinary Committee's decision as perverse.

"In the final analysis they were persuaded that the errors were genuine and honest and there was no attempt to manipulate the situation.

"That seems to me to be a paradigm example of a field of decision making that is for the Disciplinary Committee that hears the case and not for an Arbitrator on a contractual challenge by a third party. In the circumstances I must dismiss the Applicant's claim."

Warrenpoint finished bottom at the end of a dramatic final day in the Danske Bank Premiership.

At one stage they were safe from automatic relegation and the play-off place, but a last-minute penalty awarded against them saw Dungannon Swifts level at Milltown and that has ultimately sent 'Pointdown.

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