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Portadown sanctions: It's another FINE mess as Shamrock men get off lightly


Huge blow: Ports boss Pat McGibbon has now been hit with a transfer ban

Huge blow: Ports boss Pat McGibbon has now been hit with a transfer ban

TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com

Huge blow: Ports boss Pat McGibbon has now been hit with a transfer ban

Portadown will probably be feeling upset after the punishment dished out by the Irish FA's Disciplinary Committee but in my opinion they have got off lightly.

The Irish FA verdict from last night's hearing into the payment of players clearly concluded that the Shamrock Park club did something wrong.

It's not surprising then that so many Irish League fans are wondering why the punishment was not relegation.

Had Portadown been relegated it would have sent a powerful message to clubs - this is the punishment you can expect for being found guilty- but that's not the case.

In my view, if a club have been guilty of a serious matter such as this one regarding payments to players then relegation should be the sanction.

A £10,000 fine, £5,000 of which is suspended until June next year, and ban on signing players on professional contracts until June 2017 will hurt the club but it could, and should, have been worse.

The Irish FA, the game's governing body, should be strict and strong in situations such as this.

If they aren't then the danger is more clubs will be tempted to break the rules and the game will travel down a very dangerous road.

Portadown were relegated in 2008 for failing to meet the deadline to participate in the top flight and perhaps the authorities didn't want to hit them as hard this time. I can partly understand that but the Ports had serious questions to answer regarding payments to players including Tim Mouncey.

In my view they have been treated leniently.

The Ports are considering an appeal but should another club be found guilty of similar activity they will not be fearing relegation as the Ports escaped that sanction.

If the club cannot sign players on professional contracts for a year they could end up relegated anyway and it looks certain they will continue to struggle.

The simple message for Irish League clubs is conduct yourself in a professional manner and don't fall foul of the rules.

If you do, you will be punished.

The charge of bringing the game into disrepute is a serious one.

Has this punishment solved the issue of undisclosed payments to players?

Not at all. In fact, if the Ports were in a position to win the league title or Irish Cup, they could accept it.

It will be interesting to see how this transfer ban affects the squad.

Michael Gault is leaving for Crusaders and there are rumours other players will depart.

It's an absolute disaster for them.

I feel sorry for big Pat McGibbon who has taken charge.

Although the club are looking to appoint a permanent boss, you could be forgiven for asking why would anyone walk into that.

If I wanted to get back into football, would I be comfortable in that environment where things have gone spectacularly wrong?

Get your house in order football clubs, and let's never see this happen ever again.

Belfast Telegraph