Ports board to lodge plea against IFA blow

Peter McMahon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Peter McMahon. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown directors have hit back at accusations of underhand payments to Peter McMahon and confirmed plans to appeal the severity of the 12-point deduction imposed on the club this week by the Irish Football Association.

A disciplinary hearing on Tuesday left the Ports facing a 12-point punishment entering next season’s Danske Bank Premiership due to issues surrounding payments to McMahon.

The Board of Directors and club’s legal team met on Wednesday to discuss options, with a resolve within Shamrock Park to lodge an appeal that is hoped would result in the reduction of the penalty.

An interpretation of the IFA decision as a black mark against how Portadown have structured the club’s payment process has been met with a strong denial.

The club presented a professional contract signed by McMahon, Ronnie McFall and Kieran Harding. McFall stepped down in March as manager after 29 years at Portadown, with Harding also leaving his role as 
assistant boss.

“We have a contract which states in black and white Peter McMahon’s professional status from January 1, 2015 covering up to the end of the 2015/16 season,” said Ronnie Stinson, on behalf of the directors. “It has been signed by the player, Ronnie McFall as a club official and Kieran Harding as witness.

“As per normal procedure, a photocopy of the contract was provided to the payroll administrator and, under civil law, that became a binding agreement.

“We acted in good faith, meeting the obligations of the club under the terms of the player’s contract and declaring all payments.”

It is understood that the disciplinary committee highlighted payments made during the period of January 24, 2015 and April 25, 2015 in which, according to the contract with the IFA, McMahon was registered as an amateur.

This contrast forms the basis of Portadown’s appeal - with club directors processing payments based on the belief a professional contract had been delivered to the IFA covering McMahon’s change in status as of January 1, 2015 but the disciplinary committee analysing a conflicting document.