IRISH LEAGUE: Ballinamallard boss Whitey Anderson voices anger as play-off is postponed

Whitey Anderson
Whitey Anderson

Ballinamallard United boss Whitey Anderson has called for a “swift resolution” to the latest eligibility dispute to hit the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Mallards were due to play Institute in the second leg of their promotion/relegation play-off on Tuesday night at Ferney Park.

But on Monday afternoon the NI Football League postponed the fixture as a precaution after relegated Warrenpoint Town raised a number of eligibility issues.

Warrenpoint have asked the league to investigate whether Carrick Rangers manager Gary Haveron failed to serve part of a touchline ban during a 3-1 win over Dungannon Swifts on April 23.

The penalty for a player or manager failing to serve a suspension is a minimum £350 fine and the forfeiting of the match on a 3-0 scoreline.

Such an outcome would mean Carrick – who earned survival with a dramatic 2-1 win over Ballinamallard on the last day of the season – would suffer automatic relegation.

It would also mean the Mallards would be safe, with Warrenpoint Town forced into the play-off spot.

“It is very frustrating for everyone involved,” said Anderson, whose side holds a 2-1 lead following Friday night’s first leg against Stute.

“It is a very unfortunate end to the season, and it does a lot of damage to the prestige of the Danske Bank Premiership.

“There have been too many disciplinary issues this season, and they all spoil the league.

“We were due to train tonight and play Institute in Tuesday, but now we are in limbo.

“It can’t be allowed to drag on. The IFA and NIFL need to sort this issue out immediately.”

In a statement yesterday, NIFL said: “The NIFL Premiership Fixtures Sub Committee met today to consider information received regarding eligibility matters and agreed, as a precaution, to postpone tomorrow’s Ballinamallard United v Institute play-off second leg until guidance requested from the IFA has been received.”