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Westport United Junior Cup saga over

Sport

Ger Flanagan

THE Westport United FAI Junior Cup saga is officially over after the club decided against taking the decision of the FAI Appeals Committee to dismiss their protest against Aisling Annacotty to arbitration.
However, they have urged the FAI for more ‘clarity’ in relation to the interpretation of their competition rules, which they feel ‘contradict themselves’.
In a statement to The Mayo News, Westport United maintain that the Aisling Annacotty player was ineligible according to their interpretation of the FAI’s rules, which they say, they were penalised for earlier in the season during the competition.
“Our club, and indeed the Mayo League, have always followed the FAI rule which states: ‘A suspension from a match is a ban on taking part in a future match or competition and on attending it in the area immediately surrounding the field of play,” it read.
“Indeed, in the early rounds of the competition this rule impacted on our club when Darren Browne was forced to miss the game against Snugboro United as he was serving a one-game suspension handed down by the Mayo League.
“It appears that the FAI rules contradict themselves and Limerick clubs have followed a decision where its disciplinary bodies rule is followed. Westport United remain of the view that it is utterly illogical that teams competing in the same competition, particularly at national competitions such as the FAI Junior Cup with over 800 teams competing from all over the country, could be subject to different rules. 
“However, this is the case and in our view, makes no sense. Really, the FAI needs to make their rules clearer so that situations where rules can be interpreted either way by clubs cannot happen again.”
The club are entitled to seek arbitration. However, at a Executive meeting last Monday night, the club decided they were not prepared to risk €5,000, which has to be paid in order to lodge the submission to arbitration.
This brings an end to the long running saga which began after Westport United launched an official ‘protest’ regarding the ineligibility of an Aising Annacotty player in their FAI Junior Cup quarter-final defeat on March 10. The club subsequently launched an appeal against the FAI Junior Council’s decision to dismiss their protest, which was upheld at a hearing with the FAI’s Disciplinary and Control Unit last week. Westport United wished Aisling Annacotty the very best of luck in their upcoming FAI Junior Cup semi-final.