Nacho Novo wins his fight to battle on with Glentoran
Nacho Novo still has the chance to blast Glentoran into Europe after a six-match ban was reduced to three by Irish FA disciplinary chiefs last night.
The Rangers legend feared his Glentoran career was over as he stared down the barrel of a huge suspension.
The 38-year-old striker was in the dock for an attempted headbutt on Crusaders midfielder Declan Caddell on January 14 but the IFA Disciplinary Committee showed mercy after hearing the east Belfast club’s appeal.
A six-game ban was reduced to three with immediate effect and three suspended for a period of six months.
That means Novo will miss Dankse Bank Premiership clashes away to Ballinamallard United, Dungannon Swifts and Carrick Rangers but he will be available for the final two league battles with Portadown and Ards at the Oval as well as European play-off clashes should the Glens qualify by finishing in seventh position.
Glens boss Gary Haveron said: “Three games is a lot better than six and the positive thing is we will have him back before the end of the season.”
Glentoran stated: "The club thanks the disciplinary committee for a fair hearing and we now look forward to Nacho playing an active part in what we hope will be a positive end to the season."
Haveron welcomed the verdict, saying: "I stand by my original assessment that there was no attempted headbutt from Nacho.
"Nacho has been influential in the last few games and thankfully his season is still alive and kicking. He deserves credit for improving his all-round performance and I must give credit to our chairman (Stephen Henderson) as well for his work in helping us to reduce the ban."
An Irish FA statement read: "The Disciplinary Committee heard a challenge from Glentoran FC this evening regarding the dismissal of Nacho Novo for an attempted head-butt on January 14, 2017.
"The club's case was that the referee had made an obvious error in dismissing Mr Novo under Article 1.9 of the Disciplinary Code. Having considered submissions from the club, the refereeing team and having viewed the video footage, the committee were not satisfied that an obvious error had occurred.
"However, in the circumstances, the committee decided to apply the provisions of Article 16.7 and suspend half of the sanction for a period of six months. Mr Novo must serve a three-match suspension commencing Monday, 3 April 2017.
"The club has the right of appeal under Article 14 of the Articles of Association."