A top Irish League footballer has been hit with a heavy suspension by the Irish Football Association for a breach of betting regulations.
Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly has been suspended for a period of three months from Monday, July 30 with half of the sanction suspended until the end of the 2018/19 season.
The 26-year-old will miss the first six weeks of the new season which begins on August 4. The sanction relates to a WhatsApp message regarding the Cliftonville line-up before the Danske Bank Premiership game against Linfield at Windsor Park on April 28 this year. Donnelly did not play in the match which the north Belfast club won 2-1.
Cliftonville, who have a right of appeal under Article 14 of the Articles of Association, accepted the charge.
The Irish FA Discipline Committee met last night to rule on the matter and stated: "Mr Donnelly was charged with a breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association as evidenced by a breach of Regulations 45 and 46(c) of the IFA Football Regulations which state: 45. All persons bound by IFA's rules and regulations must refrain from any behaviour that damages or could damage the integrity of matches and competitions and must cooperate fully with the IFA at all times in its efforts to combat such behaviour.
"46. The integrity of matches and competitions is violated, for example, by anyone: C) who uses or provides others with information which is not publicly available, which is obtained through his position in football, and damages or could damage the integrity of a match or competition."
It said the charge was "accepted therefore the Discipline Committee considered submissions made by the club in mitigation, both verbally and in writing". And the Committee made the decision to suspend Mr Donnelly.