Cliftonville release scathing statement regarding player suspended for betting breaches 5 months ago

Cliftonville release scathing statement regarding player suspended for betting breaches

Five paragraphs. Six sentences. One storm brewing.

In late July, Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly was suspended for three months by the Irish Football Association for a breach of betting regulations.

The 26-year-old had been found to be in breach of the IFA regulations. The sanctions pertained to a WhatsApp message that touched on the Cliftonville line-up for a league game, in April, against Linfield. Donnelly did not feature in the game, which his side won 2-1.

Cliftonville appealed the suspension and although it was deemed excessive, Donnelly is still set to miss the first six weeks of the season. The club has labelled the decision a "cop-out".

An official statement from the club reads:

'Following a three hour appeal hearing this evening, the Irish Football Association Appeals Committee agreed with Cliftonville Football Club’s submission that the punishment recently imposed by the IFA Disciplinary Committee on Rory Donnelly was excessive.

'However, in what can only be described as a farcical cop out, the Appeals Committee have only seen fit to remove the suspended part of the suspension originally issued to the player. In effect, this is nothing more than a meaningless gesture with the player still having to serve the term of suspension issued, despite the case having been found in the player’s favour.

'The IFA, fond of issuing statements on selective cases only, will no doubt attempt to put a spin on this outcome, but Cliftonville Football Club will no longer be a party to such statements.

'Yet again, like the antics of individuals within the IFA over the anthem at the Irish Cup Final, it is obvious to our club that there are people within the IFA who would rather that our club went away.

'We can assure our supporters that this will never be the case.'

Fighting words right there.