Ballinamallard consider challenge over Ryan Harpur suspension controversy
Relegation-haunted Ballinamallard United are considering challenging Ryan Harpur's eligibility in their 2-0 loss to Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
League Cup winner Harpur was shown a straight red by ref Tim Marshall for an off-the-ball incident in Swifts' 3-1 final victory over Ballymena United and Stangmore Park chiefs are now appealing the sending off.
Harpur played in the Swifts' weekend win over the Mallards but the basement club are believed to have sought legal advice, and will argue his dismissal should have resulted in a suspension on Saturday, irrespective of the appeal.
Swifts have appealed the dismissal under a rule which stipulates the Irish FA can rectify errors by referees.
The Irish FA have confirmed: "Dungannon submitted a challenge against the dismissal on Wednesday evening under Article 1.9.2 where the Committee shall have power "to rectify obvious errors in the referee's disciplinary decision", namely obvious error. In receipt of a challenge under obvious error or mistaken identity, the entire suspension/charge is suspended pending the outcome."
This process comes at a £100 fee, however, and is not often undertaken by clubs, although there are successful precedents.
Ballinamallard, battling for Premier League survival, are unhappy that the IFA accepted the appeal and allowed the suspension to be lifted prior to a hearing.
Article 35.8 of the Irish FA's disciplinary code states that: "No Disciplinary Challenges will be heard against cautions or dismissals except in the case of mistaken identity."
If the Mallards proceed, they may be likely to shape a case around a rule which states: "If any player participates in a match whilst being suspended or if any player breaches the terms of his suspension, his club will be sanctioned."
Penalties could include a £600 fine and surrendering a 3-0 win and three valuable to the Mallards by default.