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Hockey Ireland chief expecting more appeals after Lisnagarvey victory

 

Jerome Pels

Hockey Ireland Chief Executive Jerome Pels expects further repercussions following Lisnagarvey's successful appeal against the method of determining European places for next season in the aftermath of the 2019/20 Irish Hockey League campaign being declared null and void.

Lisnagarvey were originally nominated as second seeds behind Three Rock Rovers shortly after the campaign was brought to a premature conclusion due to Covid-19.

That decision, taken by Hockey Ireland's Management Board, was based on the finishing positions in the 2018/19 end of season play-offs - the last completed campaign.

Rovers defeated Garvey 2-0 in the final in May 2019, meaning the Dublin side earned the top Euro spot while the Hillsborough outfit, as runners up, were handed the second seeding and a place in the less prestigious European Trophy.

Garvey lodged an appeal against the retrospective determination which was heard by an independent panel last Monday night and upheld, meaning the European seedings were reversed with the Ulster side swapping places with the Dubliners.

However, this may not be the end of the matter as it opens up a whole new can of worms after the appeal panel appeared to dismiss the principle of voiding the abbreviated season.

Instead, it seems reasonable to conclude that the panel took cognisance of the fact that, when the lockdown forced the season to be halted, Garvey were looking almost certain to win the Irish Hockey League title.

They were five points clear of the chasing pack with two games in hand with Banbridge in second place and Three Rock fourth and this appears to have been instrumental in the appeal being successful.

However, a precedent has now been set and Hockey Ireland will not be surprised if other clubs lodge appeals in the light of the apparent  overturning of the null and void principle.

CEO Pels said: "We are in uncharted territory in the current situation with appeals being made on Board decisions.

"The Hockey Ireland Board took the decision to declare the season null and void. From there, we had to go back to the last point (when) we had a final result and worked from that basis.

"That is the position we took, The appeal panel took a different view. We will see what the consequences are but I can imagine a lot of clubs are looking at the situation."

Three Rock are understood to be considering appealing to the Republic's mediation and arbitration organisation, Just for Sport, in a bid to have the seedings reversed to the original awards.

Banbridge would also appear to have a case for the second Euro place as runners up to Garvey in the IHL when it was halted while Loreto, who were leading the women's standings, could also argue they should be promoted  ahead of Pegasus, who have the top ranking for next season as things stand.

Belfast Telegraph