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Neeson calls for Carrick to be shown same leniency as Ports

By Stuart McKinley

Published 11/05/2016

Be fair: Brian Neeson wants a punishment that fits the crime
Be fair: Brian Neeson wants a punishment that fits the crime

Carrick Rangers goalkeeper Brian Neeson is urging the Irish FA's Disciplinary Committee to issue a punishment that fits the crime over the issue that leaves his team facing ejection from the Danske Bank Premiership.

Carrick are in the dock because manager Gary Haveron took his place in the technical area for their penultimate match of the season, a 3-1 win against Dungannon Swifts, when he should have been completing a three-match touchline ban.

Haveron did, however, stay away from the dugout for three games, but an internal error caused him to do so for a match against Ballymena United when, in fact, he wasn't banned.

If Carrick lose the three points from the Swifts game it will see them drop to the bottom of the table and they would then be relegated instead of Warrenpoint.

Neeson has pointed to the recent decision to fine Portadown £10,000 and impose a season-long ban on signing professionals when found guilty of making undisclosed payments to players, rather than throwing them out of the top-flight, as a precedent for leniency when it comes to breaking rules.

"You would hope that nothing too harsh would happen, especially after what has happened with Portadown," said Neeson.

"They got away with a lot, basically. I think the same thing happened to Gary Hamilton a few years ago when he got sent off as a player and as a manager.

"They only got a rap on the knuckles, so I would hate to see anything coming of it. The manager picks the team, but we went out and got the win on the last day when it was needed."

After the Northern Ireland Football League postponed last night's promotion/relegation play-off second leg clash between Ballinamallard United and Institute, the IFA yesterday acknowledged that they are now dealing with the Carrick issue.

A statement read: "The Disciplinary committee has been formally made aware of the issue regarding Carrick Rangers FC. The committee has asked Carrick Rangers FC for comment, in the normal course and the club has been requested to respond by Friday morning."

Carrick are expected to argue that Haveron did sit out three matches away from the dugout and that although they did make an error, there was no attempt to gain an advantage.

Haveron and his captain Aaron Harmon were both sent off following a melee in the dying moments of their 4-3 win over Crusaders on March 22.

The pair served automatic suspensions when Carrick faced Glentoran the following Saturday, but the error followed when the extra matches kicked in.

Harmon sat out matches against Ballymena United and Portadown, with Haveron taking a seat in the stand for the same games.

The rules that Haveron is facing punishment over, however, differ from those which govern player suspensions and therefore the manager should have missed the Portadown and Dungannon Swifts games.

Belfast Telegraph

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