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Press Release

Fermanagh & Western Football League Press Release

All Sporting Organisations are guided by Rules and Regulations which define what is allowed and what is not allowed. Without Rules and Regulations there is chaos. The Fermanagh & Western Football League's Rules are maintained and updated annually by its Members Clubs. They are applied without fear or favour by a Management Committee which conducts the business of the League and has the power to suspend, fine, levy, deduct points or expel any Club guilty of infringing or failing to observe the Rules of the League.

At its Meeting held on 1st December 2016 the League's Management Committee upheld a "protest / claim for points" from Dergview U18s in respect of the Youth Division match between Enniskillen Athletic U18s and Dergview U18s that was played at Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown on Tuesday 1st November 2016 – Dergview U18s alleged that Enniskillen Athletic U18s had played four ineligible players in the match.

The Management Committee considered evidence from Dergview U18s which confirmed that Enniskillen Athletic had only lodged the Registration Forms of Player 'A' and Player 'B' with the Registrar on the day preceding the match and that Player 'C' and Player 'D' had been registered to play for Enniskillen Athletic in the Brendan Keogh Youth League and not in the Fermanagh & Western Football League.

The ineligibility of these players was only ascertained after the Dergview U18s' Manager Nicky Allen rang Peter Goan (Secretary, Enniskillen Athletic FC) to enquire about the welfare of Player 'A' who had sustained a serious leg injury during the match and was informed that Player 'A' had only been registered on the eve of the match which rendered him ineligible to play.

Rule 17(g) of the League's Rules clearly states that "A Player's Registration will become effective five days from the date and time of the postmark on the envelope bearing his Registration. A Club playing a Player must satisfy themselves as to the eligibility of the Player."

This revelation prompted an investigation by Dergview U18s which subsequently revealed that Player 'A' was only one of four Enniskillen Athletic U18s' players who
were ineligible to play in the match and consequently gave rise to their "protest / claim for points".

The Management Committee consequently upheld Dergview U18s' "protest / claim for points", awarded them the points for the match and recorded a score-line of 3-0 in their favour. The Management Committee also determined that a thorough check be carried out on all returned Official Team Sheets completed by Enniskillen Athletic and Enniskillen Athletic U18s to date in common with past practices.

Peter Goan was advised on 26th January 2017 that the thorough check had been carried out on all returned Official Match Forms completed by Enniskillen Athletic U18s and Enniskillen Athletic to date and it had been ascertained that Enniskillen Athletic had played ineligible players in the following Division 3 matches:

v Fivemiletown United II on Saturday 27th August 2016 [Player 'D']
v Ballygawley on Saturday 1st October 2016 [Player 'D']
v Enniskillen Galaxy on Saturday 8th October [Barry McIntyre]
v Ardstraw Reserves on Saturday 22nd October [Barry McIntyre and Player 'D']
v Erne Rovers on Saturday 29th October [Fred Fitzpatrick and Player 'D']
v Lisnarick on Saturday 5th November [Player 'D']

Mr Goan (and / or Club Representative/s) was directed to be in attendance from 7.45pm onwards at a Meeting of the Management Committee to be held in the Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown on Thursday 2nd February 2017 when the above breaches of the League's Rules (and the IFA's Amateur Game Player Registration Regulations) would be considered.

No Representative from Enniskillen Athletic was in attendance at 8.10pm when the breaches of Rules were ultimately considered by the Management Committee who were informed that:

Player 'D' was ineligible to play in five matches because his registration did not become effective until 15th November 2016.
Barry McIntyre was ineligible to play in two matches because his registration did not become effective until 5th November 2016 (his previous registration had expired on 14th August 2016).
Fred Fitzpatrick, who is not a registered player of Enniskillen Athletic, was ineligible to play in one match.

Following lengthy discussion, during which the Management Committee took cognisance of Articles 31, 41 and 55 of FIFA's Disciplinary Code, it was determined that:

(i) the points for the matches be awarded to Fivemiletown United II, Enniskillen Galaxy, Ardstraw Reserves, Erne Rovers and Lisnarick and score-lines of 3-0 be recorded in their favour;
(ii) the score-line of 5-2 in favour of Ballygawley be upheld
(iii) a fine of £150.00 be imposed on Enniskillen Athletic.

An ensuing "protest / claim for points" from Enniskillen Galaxy in which they alleged that Enniskillen Athletic had played an ineligible player - Sean Gallinagh whose name
had not been entered on their Official Team Sheet – and who had scored in the Division 3 match between the teams that was played on 7th January 2017 was upheld by the Management Committee who heard verbal submissions from Donal Burns (Secretary, Enniskillen Galaxy FC) and Peter Goan who was accompanied by Dermot Nolan.

The Management Committee ergo determined that the points for the match be awarded to Enniskillen Galaxy, a score-line of 3-0 be awarded in their favour and a fine of £75.00 be imposed of Enniskillen Athletic.

This decision and the earlier decision/s were communicated to Messrs Burns, Goan and Nolan before they departed the Meeting.

Messrs Goan and Nolan, the former visibly agitated, interrupted the business of the Meeting soon afterwards when the Management Committee were the source of their anger and hostility. Despite several requests for them to leave they continued to harangue the Management Committee and questioned the decisions taken. They eventually departed the Meeting for a second time after the Chairman, who had acted with propriety throughout their incursion, warned them of possible disciplinary consequences should they continue with their protestations.

Enniskillen Athletic blatantly disregarded Rules by playing ineligible players on eight occasions and were appropriately sanctioned by the deduction of points and fines totalling £225.00.

Enniskillen Athletic published its response to the Management Committee's determinations early on the following morning and it contained inaccuracies, innuendos, omissions and a downright lie.

Enniskillen Athletic claimed that they were deducted points because Fred Fitzpatrick signed an Official Team Sheet. Not so. Of the six applicable Official Team Sheets none were signed by Fred Fitzpatrick – indeed two of the six Official Team Sheets were not signed at all and anybody is free to inspect them on request.

It can only be assumed that Enniskillen Athletic published such a blatant lie to elicit negative reaction from others and it wasn't long before social media sites were awash with the inevitable criticism of the League and its Officers.

Enniskillen Athletic claim that they have been dealt with "harshly and in a very dismissive manner" because of "a simple clerical error", "another trivial clerical error", "small clerical mistakes" and "similar overlapping errors". As previously stated they played ineligible players on eight occasions and were sanctioned in accordance with Rule 8(o) of the League's Rules which clearly states that: "Any Team proved to have played an ineligible Player in any match shall be fined a minimum of £75.00
and shall be adjudged to have lost the match and any other match in which he may have played."

The League has an obligation to promote fair play and integrity and its Management Committee (and not the Disciplinary Committee as reported on the Enniskillen Athletic Facebook page – a "simple clerical error") had no option but to implement the sanctions imposed. To do otherwise would have been a denigration of their responsibilities which they have carried out with impartiality for many years.

The ultimate responsibility for ensuring player eligibility lies with each Club who must ensure that all players who take the field of play are registered in accordance with the League's Rules and the IFA's Amateur Game Player Registration Regulations.

Enniskillen Athletic's acknowledgement on their Facebook page that youth players were "not signed on F&W Form" is an admission of their guilt and testament to the poor administration procedures prevailing within the Club. Rather than continually apportioning blame to all and sundry they should carry out an internal investigation and ascertain how this systematic breaking of Rules has been allowed to fester.

They should take a leaf out of Omagh Hospitals' book who now have their "house in order" after their teams were sanctioned with the loss of a total of 21 points and had fines totalling £675.00 imposed on them for playing ineligible players during the course of last Season. In these cases the League had sought counsel from William Campbell (IFA's Head of CEO Office) who had advised that although the sanctions imposed on Omagh Hospitals appeared harsh the League had acted in accordance with its Rules.

Enniskillen Athletic have already been informed in writing of the Management Committee's decisions and have been informed that they have the right to appeal these decisions to the IFA's Appeals Committee in accordance with Article 14 of the IFA Articles of Association.

NEIL JARDINE
CHAIRMAN
FERMANAGH & WESTERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

GERARD CONNOLLY
SECRETARY
FERMANAGH & WESTERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Irish Junior Cup Round 5 Result

It was a mixed day of results for our clubs still remaining in the Junior Cup. Enniskillen Rangers knocked out Rosemount Rec the Runners Up's of the competition for the past 2 years with an impressive performance scoring 3 goals without reply. Mark Cutler scored twice along with Adam Wallace to put the previous winners of the competition into the last 8. Strathroy Harps continued their good form with a 3-1 victory away the H&W Welders U-20's. Connor O'Donnell Marty Flanagan and Aidy McCaffrey all scored to put one of the favourites for the competition through. Beragh Swifts made the long trip to Ballymena and were on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against Ahoghill Thistle. Strule United suffered a heavy defeat 6-0 against Lurgan side Hill Street but can be proud to reach this stage of the competition.

Ahoghill Thistle 3-0 Beragh Swifts

Enniskillen Rangers 3-0 Rosemount Rec

H&W Welders U-20 1-3 Strathroy Harps

Hill Street 6-0 Strule United

Irish Junior Cup 5th Round

This weekend the last 4 remaining teams from the Fermanagh and Western Football League take part in the Irish Junior Cup.

Ahoghill Thistle v Beragh Swifts (Tie of the Round)

Enniskillen Rangers v Rosemount Rec

Hill Street v Strule United

H&W Welders U20 v Strathroy Harps

We would like to wish all four clubs the very best of luck and hope they are all are successful in their ties.

 

Irish Junior Cup Round 5 Draw

The draw for the 5th Round of the Irish Junior Cup has been made and the remaining 4 sides from the Fermanagh and Western League all getting tough draws. Beragh Swifts have to travel to Ballymena to face Ahoghill Thistle who knocked out Lisbellaw United in the last round. Enniskillen Rangers will host Rosemount Rec from Greyabbey, the runners up in the competition for the past two seasons. Strule United travel to Lurgan to face the side which narrowly beat Enniskillen Town United in the last round, Hill Street. While fellow omagh side Strathroy Harps travel to East Belfast to face Harland and Wolff Under 20's. 

Ahoghill Thistle v Beragh Swifts

Enniskillen Rangers v Rosemount Rec

Hill Street v Strule United

H&W Welders U20 v Strathroy Harps

Irish Junior Cup Round 4 - Round Up

On Saturday 4th January, the last 8 remaining teams from the Fermanagh and Western League took part in the 4th Round of the Irish Junior Cup. Killen Rangers hosted fellow F&W Division 1 side Strule United in the only all Fermanagh and Western ties, with the Omagh men winning a close encounter. Beragh Swifts overcame a strong Ballyoran side from the Mid-Ulster League 3-1, Enniskillen Rangers also had an easy victory over Mid-Ulster League opposition, Armagh Rovers 6-0 at the Ball Range. Previous winners and current Division 1 leaders, Strathroy Harps ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over Limavady Drummond to keep their treble hopes alive. 

Unfortunetly, 3 other Fermanagh and Western sides were not successful in their match. All three had tough away assignments to leading sides in the Ballymena Saturday Morning League, Mid-Ulster and Belfast District Leagues. Lisbellaw United lost to one of the favourites for the competition Ahoghill Thistle 3-1 in extra time. Enniskillen Town United conceeded a goal in injury time to loose 2-1 too Hill Street from Lurgan and Magheraveely lost 4-1 to Tullymore Swifts from West Belfast. 

Division 1 Table

Team
Played Points
1 Strathroy Harps 15 40
2 Lisbellaw United 15 35
3 Enniskillen Town Utd 14 31
4 Beragh Swifts 14 30
5 Enniskillen Rangers 15 28
6 Tummery Athletic 17 24
7 Irvinestown Wanderers 17 21
8 Killen Rangers 12 13
9 Magheraveely 15 10
10 Enniskillen Santos 17 10
11 Strule United 15 8
12 NFC Kesh 14 7

Division 2 Table

Team
Played Points
1 Lisnaskea Rovers 14 36
2 Mountjoy United 13 35
3 Dergview Reserves 15 28
4 Dunbreen Rovers 16 24
5 Omagh Hospitals 14 23
6 Glebe United 12 18
7 Drumquin United 15 14
8 Maguiresbridge 17 14
9 Mountfield 14 12
10 St Patricks 14 4

Division 3 Table

Team
Played Points
1 Fintona Swifts 10 26
2 Ardstraw Reserves 13 23
3 Lisnarick 13 23
4 Ballygawley 10 22
5 Erne Rovers 14 18
6 Enniskillen Athletic 14 15
7 Enniskillen Galaxy 13 13
8 Orchard Farm 12 9
9 Fivemiletown Utd II 11 9

Reserve Division One Table

Reserve Division Two Table

Reserve Division Three Table

Youth League