Portadown have been hit with a 12-point deduction by the Irish FA over payments made to midfielder Peter McMahon.
The penalty – which will come into effect at the start of next season – was imposed by the IFA’s Discipline Committee.
The Committee found that Portadown were “in breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association as evidenced by a breach of Article 38 of NIFL Rules”.
The IFA found that the Shamrock Park club had made payments to McMahon whilst he was registered as an amateur.
The Association said in a statement: “Whilst Portadown produced a version of the player contract, which they argued supported their case, the Committee relied on the players contract as lodged with the IFA as the basis of its determination.
“The Committee had regard to all of the evidence and submissions put before it and determined that a 12 point deduction should be imposed for the 2016/17 season meaning Portadown FC will start the season with -12 points.
“Portadown have the right of appeal under Article 14 of the Articles of Association.”
It is the second time in two months that Portadown have been punished due to issues with player contracts.
In April they were hit with a fine and transfer sanction on signing players under professional terms until June 2017.
The penalties related to payments made to striker Gary Twigg.