Morning everyone. It seems that MSM is catching up to the reporting done here on The 4th Official from around a month back. Read this article from around a month back (which was released exclusively on Patreon first) which talks about Donaghadee taking the IFA to arbitration and how it could be a game-changer not only in Amateur football, but also the entire structure of football in NI. I would recommend reading it once before reading the rest of this article.
This is what Jamie Bryson, the manager of Donaghadee and also the person leading the legal challenge, told me at the time, “If successful in arbitration on the point around the ‘code of conduct’ tainting all their decisions, then all decisions of the Appeals Committee could be overturned and could force a complete change in the entire structure of football in NI. The case is essentially following many of the same issues as Hearts, and one next step could be a dispute over whether after arbitration, the parties can go to the High Court in Northern Ireland.”
Now Belfast Telegraph had a report from a couple of days back about how this arbitration could halt football including professional football in Northern Ireland completely in a worst-case scenario.
I had to find more about this, but unfortunately, Jamie Bryson could not speak about it this time as he is a party to the arbitration proceedings.
However, a source inside the club gave me the inside track, “So basically it’s now before arbitration, being heard by a High Court Judge. Jamie is going to be arguing that the NAFL and IFA Appeals Committee wrongly applied the law, and as such, their decisions should be quashed.
“But as a separate stand, our argument is that the IFA code- requiring all decisions to be made in the interests of the IFA- means the Appeals Committee lacked sufficient independence and had the appearance of bias. If this succeeds, then every decision they ever made- including one’s relation to the professional game in NI- are open to challenge.”
There are two outstanding senior football cases (Institute and PSNI) before the Appeals Committee; this is now a live issue; therefore, it’s hard to see how those decisions could be made until after arbitration. This could, therefore, prevent the senior game starting, thus basically shutting down competitive football in NI for the foreseeable future.
My source inside Donaghadee confirmed to me that there is no agreement between the parties as to a timetable to conclude arbitration proceedings and the default position, therefore, is that it could take upwards of 63 days.
Also following the Donaghadee judgement, the IFA Appeals Committee made a ruling on another appeal, which they did not publish, which contradicted their reasoning in the first case. It is safe to say that this matter is not going anywhere soon. With a victory for Belgian club Waasland-Beveren in their quest to turn relegation in front of BAS as precedent, is there any wonder that the league bosses are nervous?
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