Ports directors plan case against the IFA

Disbelief for Michael Gault at last season's Irish Cup final.
Disbelief for Michael Gault at last season's Irish Cup final.

Portadown directors are exploring legal action against the Irish Football Association.

A high-ranking source has revealed to the ‘Times’ details of discussions by the Board over a potential legal case against the Irish Football Association.

Although club officials issued a ‘no comment’ when contacted, the ‘Times’ understands initial talks have been held with a team of specialist sports lawyers.

The specifics remain under wraps but it is under consideration as a course of action in view of growing frustration within Shamrock Park towards the game’s governing body.

One possible area to explore is the loss of revenue based on decisions by the match officials deemed key to Portadown’s Irish Cup final defeat by Glentoran in May.

Qualification for the Europa League resulted in a cash windfall of at least £145,000 into Glentoran accounts despite officials from the final subsequently punished by the IFA based on performance levels.

The latest clash between the club and IFA came just days before the kick-off to the current Danske Bank Premiership season when notification arrived of suspensions for Mark McAllister and Michael Gault dating back to April.

“We had been informed in May of our situation with suspensions for the opening day of the season, then the e-mail came in for Mark and Michael less than 48 hours before our first match,” said a club source. “My understanding is the club secretary and manager made repeated calls and sent e-mails seeking clarification or acknowledgement of our appeal but heard nothing back before the game.

“The feeling inside Portadown now is that we have suffered time and time again due to mistakes by the IFA and the time has come to respond.

“Officials were demoted following mistakes in the Irish Cup final and the IFA have admitted they did not receive the referee’s report after that April match.

“We also had Chris Casement’s cup suspension dismissed on appeal, plus the problems for the club and our supporters due to the ticket arrangements and toilet facilities at The Oval for the final.

“We keep on paying 
the price.”