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Glentoran deny wrongdoing as club is investigated for financial impropriety

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Concerns: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott

Concerns: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott

Concerns: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott

Bullish boss Mick McDermott is adamant Glentoran have nothing to fear after being slapped with a financial impropriety investigation that could see the east Belfast giants relegated if found guilty.

The Glens, who have invested heavily after their takeover by Ali Pour, are in the dock due to the IFA's Licensing Department alerting the Northern Ireland Football League of issues relating to staff payments.

McDermott insists the Glens will be cleared as "everything we do is above board".

"If they want to have a look at our books, no problem," says McDermott. "Anytime a club like ours starts doing well, people wonder why."

The Oval outfit were awarded both their Premiership and UEFA licenses by the Irish FA last week but the licensing department saw fit to pass concerns over to NIFL, who have responsibility for following up on such matters.

Should the Glens be found guilty of breaking rules, they could face similar sanctions to Portadown, who were docked 12 points at the start of the 2016/17 season and were ultimately relegated after being found guilty of making undisclosed payments to players.

Glens manager McDermott added: “All I can say is we were awarded our UEFA Licence by the IFA. If we had done something wrong, no way would they have given us that Licence.

“So no problem, ask the questions. Glentoran are probably the most audited club in the history of the Irish League because of recent financial difficulties.

“If NIFL or the IFA want to have a look, no problem. I am in no doubt that everything we do is above board.”

Sunday Life Sport understands Championship outfit Ballinamallard United are also under investigation and a NIFL spokesman confirmed both clubs will be asked to comply with any inquiry.

“The Northern Ireland Football League can confirm that, following correspondence from the IFA Licensing Committee last week, we will be in communication with clubs for their observations,” said a NIFL spokesperson.

“There will be no further comment at this stage.”

It is not the first time Glentoran and the IFA’s licensing department have clashed, as two years ago the Association flashed a warning to the east Belfast side following Ronnie McFall’s permanent appointment as manager and Gary Smyth’s installation as joint first team coach.

“Any suggestion that a licensee may be engaged in the practice of ‘shadow management’ will be fully investigated and where established will result in the withdrawal of any licence awarded for the incoming 2018-19 season,” read an IFA statement at the time.

However, this time around the Windsor Park body, when contacted by Sunday Life Sport yesterday, refused to comment on the licensing department, simply stating through a spokesperson: “Nothing from us on that one.”

Belfast Telegraph