I’m sure that you are all well aware of the ongoing debate regards Glenavon player-manager Gary Hamilton, and his eligibility or otherwise when he turned out for the Lurgan club in a match at the Oval on 8th November 2014.
Briefly, the Glens had contested that Gary, who played a major part in Glenavon’s 4-2 win that day, should in fact not have been playing, as he should have been serving a one match ban.
An appeal was subsequently submitted to the IFA in an effort to have the result declared null and void, and as IFA rules clearly state, Glentoran FC then be awarded the points and a 3-0 win.
On 9th December the IFA Appeals Committee agreed with the Glens and confirmed that Gary should not have played in the game, as he should indeed have been serving a ban, but then bizarrely went on to disregard their own rules and decree that the result would still stand!
A further appeal against that decision was made to the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL), who then met on 17th December only to decide that they “could not overrule the original IFA verdict.”
The club are quite rightly shocked and angered at this ridiculous decision and situation, and we as supporters are left totally exasperated as to what appears a total lack of application and accountability within the ruling powers of the local game.
The only avenue left open to the club at this stage is to submit the matter to Sports Arbitration UK, who will now listen to representation from both Glentoran and the IFA before hopefully reaching the right conclusion. But unfortunately this service does not come for free.
A down payment of £300 has already been submitted to lodge the appeal, but crucially, should the Glens then lose the decision, they must foot the final bill – likely to be upwards of £6,000. Given the financial plight of the club, that must have been a major factor in deciding to take the matter further.
However, Glentoran Community Trust are delighted that the club have decided to proceed, failure to pursue this due to financial constraints, would not only have raised major doubts as to the credibility of Glentoran Football Club, but also served as a total capitulation in the face of inconceivable arrogance and injustice.
Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and stand up for what is right, the club may have gone through some very difficult times of late, but we are still Glentoran, a club with a rich history, and considerable integrity and pride. Affordability concerns should not come into this, nor should it distract our board from more important matters at this crucial stage of the season.
To that end, Glentoran Community Trust have yesterday submitted a cheque for the sum of £300 to cover initial appeal costs, and have undertaken to foot the entire £6,000 bill should Glentoran FC lose the Arbitrators decision.
Le Jeu Avant Tout