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Irish FA dismiss Institute's appeal over relegation from Premiership

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Sore point: Sean Connor has blasted the 'football family'

Sore point: Sean Connor has blasted the 'football family'

�INPHO/Lorcan Doherty

Sore point: Sean Connor has blasted the 'football family'

Institute's appeal over the club's relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership has been unanimously dismissed by the Irish FA Appeal Board.

Stute will next season play in the Championship despite being only three points adrift of Warrenpoint Town when the Premiership season was called to a halt, with seven rounds of fixtures remaining.

Institute had claimed their relegation was "unsporting, unfair and unjust" but have not found favour in their official appeal.

In their conclusion, the IFA Appeal Board drew attention to the 'unenviable task' facing NIFL in finding a way forward for the leagues, with government restrictions and UEFA deadlines to navigate as well as the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Appeal Board was satisfied that NIFL "did not implement an unfair consultation process" when deciding on how to conclude the 19/20 season and said the NIFL process was both "timely and open".

The NIFL Board contested that it had given due consideration to the impact of relegation on the relevant clubs and also the impact of league restructure, which they decided was 'not feasible' as no clubs could be promoted to the Premier Intermediate League due to the curtailment of feeder leagues.

The requirement for three teams to be relegated from the Premiership next season also caused 'concern' among top tier clubs, according to the NIFL Board.

The IFA were not satisfied that any member of either the NIFL Board or Steering Group had exerted any "undue influence" on decisions and rejected Institute's claim that the Premiership clubs had been unanimously against automatic relegation.

The Appeal Board did 'empathise' with Institute's 'unfortunate' predicament but said that relegation is 'part and parcel' of football.

Institute had claimed that the decisions made by the NIFL Board contravened NIFL regulations, IFA Competition Integrity rules, IFA Conflict of Interests regulations and Common Law. NIFL denied all accusations, and found the agreement of the Appeal Board.

Institute manager Sean Connor commented on Twitter yesterday: "'Empathy without action only helps to maintain the status quo' - Noam Chomsky. The football family went into hiding through fear and a lack of direction from the leadership. Self preservation won out over the good of the football family."

Belfast Telegraph