Portadown manager Ronnie McFall has described the decision of the Irish Football Association to impose a six-game ban on Chris Casement as “mind-boggling”.
Casement’s ban will start on Monday following the verdict to uphold the original decision made in the league game against Dungannon Swifts on March 14.
Verbal, video and written evidence in support of Casement’s innocence failed to alter the punishment imposed for an alleged headbutt based on a referee’s assistant statement.
The 27-year-old defender’s season will effectively end this weekend after Portadown visit Glenavon for a crucial derby in the race to secure European qualification. He will miss the final league game with Linfield and the Irish Cup final.
“Based on the evidence we provided, we consider the decision mind-boggling,” said McFall. “We must now seek legal advice on the best way forward.
“We feel this is not just about a player missing an Irish Cup final but about natural justice.
We feel this is not just about a player missing an Irish Cup final but about natural justiceRonnie McFall
“The player Chris is accused of headbutting, Terry Fitzpatrick, submitted a letter and was there in person to state it did not happen.
“Chris said the same and Jim Magilton (the IFA Elite Performance Director) delivered a written character reference.
“Keith Kennedy, who was referee on the day, said he would have only issued a yellow card.
“Referee Raymond Crangle said he would have talked to both players.
“We feel the video evidence also shows the referee’s assistant had his line of sight blocked.
“We have four days from the decision to lodge an appeal.
“It is my understanding that Chris has never previously been sent off in his club career or as a Northern Ireland international across the various age levels.”
The following statement was released by the Irish Football Association relating to Tuesday’s meeting:
“The Disciplinary Committee met last night and heard evidence from all relevant parties including the match officials, players and representatives.
“Video evidence was also reviewed.
“Having heard all the evidence the Committee decided to uphold the original suspension of 6 matches incurred by Chris Casement following his dismissal during the match between Portadown FC v Dungannon Swifts FC on 14 March 2015.
“The suspension will take effect from Monday 20 April.
“As the decision remains subject to possible appeal it would not be appropriate to make further comment.”
Portadown team-mates including Garry Breen, Mark McAllister, Robert Garrett, Chris Ramsey and Darren Murray took to social media in support of Casement, along with fans.
Crusaders’ Emmet Friars and Matthew Tipton from Ballymena United also offered backing to Casement - plus members of the media.