Ports turn to legal team after IFA set Casement date

Robert Garrett and Garry Breen will be hoping to get to grips with the Irish Cup on May 2 when Portadown face Glentoran in the final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Robert Garrett and Garry Breen will be hoping to get to grips with the Irish Cup on May 2 when Portadown face Glentoran in the final. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

The Chris Casement suspension saga took another twist this week when Portadown’s legal team stepped in following just 48 hours’ notice from the Irish Football Association to attend an appeal hearing.

Portadown defender Casement was due to start a six-game ban having been found guilty of a headbutt on Dungannon Swifts’ Terry Fitzpatrick in the March 14 league fixture.

Chris Casement. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Chris Casement. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

A club appeal against the ruling was lodged last Friday by special delivery - giving IFA officials a window of 14 days to set a date for the hearing.

However, an e-mail on Tuesday proposed tonight (Thursday) but Portadown turned to the legal team in protest at the timing. E-mails sent on Wednesday confirmed a formal request for a postponement.

The IFA had yet to respond to Portadown at the time of going to press, with club secretary Bill Emerson expecting a reply by early today.

“The incident took place on March 14 and the hearing over that ruling was held on April 14,” said Emerson. “We feel such a brief time period, basically 48 hours’ notice, to finalise our case is unfair, especially with only fresh evidence admissible.

“We were left stunned by the decision last week and want to present the strongest case possible to clear Chris’ name.

“Key witnesses will also be unavailable for Thursday so we have proposed next Monday or Wednesday to avoid disrupting training building up to the final.”

It is also understood Portadown will be monitoring developments relating to temporary seating for Glentoran supporters at The Oval due to the potential for reduced profits.