Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry says he feels "exceptionally sorry" for Curtis Allen after the striker's contract was not extended at Glentoran, making him ineligible when the Irish Cup resumes later this month.
The Bannsiders are unable to extend the loan of a player who will officially be a free agent and the east Belfast club's decision seems to be the result of the tensions which rose between clubs during the stormy discussions over how to curtail the season and share European money.
Coleraine face Ballymena United in the semi-final but the former Linfield frontman is out of contract from today.
With his Glentoran contract expiring yesterday, and his Coleraine deal not beginning until after the current season, Allen will officially be without a club for the remainder of the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 campaign.
Allen stated on Twitter: "I'm lost for words.
"I was told today by Mick (McDermott) that Glentoran would do nothing to support Coleraine Football Club and if I was a victim of that, then it was tough luck! Remember when we were all in this together?"
Coleraine chief McKendry added: "We don't want any bad feeling to linger and if that is the case I feel exceptionally sorry for the player.
“It was potentially one game or a Cup final, and to deny a player a chance of a medal at any time is quite distasteful, but I wish Glentoran well in their semi-final.”
Allen joined the Bannsiders on loan from Glentoran in January, with the deal becoming permanent at the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
The Glens face Cliftonville in the other last four tie, with both matches at Windsor Park on July 27.
Allen, who has spent six years with the Glens, said: “I am shocked that during this unprecedented time when everyone is trying to help each other and stick together a decision like this would be made.
“I am lost for words and am devastated that I will not be allowed to be involved in any of the Cup matches.”
McKendry said he hoped the episode was a “misunderstanding” rather than a shot at the Bannsiders.
“We extended our loan period with Alex Gawne at Carrick and we expected the same to be done with Curtis as he is effectively a free agent at the end of next month,” he added.
“We will make sure Curtis’ wages are paid.
“I’d prefer this to be a misunderstanding than someone holding a grudge because there are no winners in that.
“Forget about the clubs, if Glentoran have a problem with the way Coleraine conduct themselves, don’t hold it against a player and deny him the chance to play in an Irish Cup semi-final or final.
“He couldn’t have played against Glentoran anyway because of the parent club rule. But it’s not nice to deny a player a chance of winning a medal. I feel sorry for the footballer.”
Meanwhile, Portadown have announced that defender Paddy McNally has signed a new three-year contract with the club which will see him remain at Shamrock Park until 2023. The 25-year-old joined from Larne last summer, making 30 appearances and scoring three goals. McNally said: “I can’t wait for what lies ahead.”
Portadown were promoted as NIFL Championship winners on Friday on a points-per-game basis.
At the other end of the Championship, PSNI have joined relegated Premiership side Institute in launching an appeal following the Northern Ireland Football League’s decision to automatically relegate the club from the Championship.
“In these unprecedented times it was believed that common sense and natural fairness would prevail and that no team would be disadvantaged in the decision making process,” said the club.
“At the heart of our appeal is sporting integrity. We believe the decision making process was fatally flawed and NIFL, in coming to the decision they did, did not consider sporting integrity.”