Ballinamallard challenge IFA over Dungannon skipper eligibility.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

BALLINAMALLARD United have challenged the eligibility of Dungannon Swifts captain Ryan Harpur in their 2-0 loss to the League Cup champions side at Stangmore Park last weekend.

Harpur had been sent off with a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident in that 3-1 final victory over Ballymena United the previous week, and Swifts have appealed the dismissal under a rule which stipulates the Irish FA can rectify errors by referees.

However, last week Ferney Park officials argued that the dismissal should have automatically resulted in a suspension for the game against the Mallards on February 24, regardless of the appeal.

A club statementsaid: "Everyone with an interest in Irish League football was aware that Dungannon Swifts captain Ryan Harpur was sent-off in the League Cup final the previous week.

"It was a massive surprise to us when we realised that the player was included in the Dungannon Swifts team against ourselves and raised the matter with a match official.

"The IFA Disciplinary Code is clear in that it states in two separate articles that a player who is dismissed is automatically suspended from the subsequent match, therefore in this case it automatically follows that Ryan Harpur would be suspended for the next match.

"A further article in the Disciplinary Code states that there can be no challenge to a caution or dismissal, except in the case of mistaken identity, which in this incident the player concerned actually admitted in a number of media sources that he was indeed involved in the incident.

"Ballinamallard United are therefore surprised if a club were to attempt an erroneous appeal and even more surprised if the IFA were to accept such an appeal, otherwise the vast percentage of on-the-field bookings and sending-offs would be appealed at every level of football."

Article 35.8 of the Irish FA's disciplinary code states that:

"No Disciplinary Challenges will be heard against cautions or dismissals except in the case of mistaken identity."

Ballinamallard will challenge that "if any player participates in a match whilst being suspended or if any player breaches the terms of his suspension, his club will be sanctioned."

The Dungannon club could be fined 600, as well as surrendering a 3-0 win to relegation-battling Fermanagh club, and more importantly three league points.

Ballinamallard's secretary Richard McBride has since confirmed the club are still awaiting a response from the IFA regarding the challenge.


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