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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Gareth Fullerton

Warrenpoint Town rocked by licence refusals as Irish FA announces decision

Warrenpoint Town have been rocked by the news that the club has been refused key licences for the 2023/24 season.

The Irish FA announced successful applications for teams on Thursday, but Warrenpoint have been denied both Championship and Promotion licences.

The Milltown club finished second in this season's Championship and was set to take part in a Premiership promotion/relegation play-off against Dungannon Swifts next week.

Read more: Ex-Coleraine teen given 'outstanding' rating in FA Youth Cup final

That fixture has since been postponed until further notice after the Irish FA confirmed on Thursday that it had 'unanimously' refused to award licences to the County Down outfit.

The IFA said on its website: "The committee was unanimous in its decision to refuse licences to Warrenpoint Town FC. The club has been advised of the specific reasons for the licence refusals. Given that the club has a right to appeal, the committee is unable to comment any further at this time.

"All clubs who have been refused a licence have the right of appeal, in line with 3.2.7 of the Club Licensing manual(s) with any such appeals tentatively scheduled for 10 May 2023."

The decision - if upheld - will have significant ramifications throughout the top tiers of the Northern Ireland Football League.

It leaves next month's Premiership play-off in limbo and could see Dungannon Swifts face off against Annagh United who currently sit third in the Championship and have been granted a Promotion licence for next season.

It could also impact on the Championship relegation play-off. Knockbreda are currently bottom of the table with Institute two points above them in 11th.

The NI Football League confirmed next week's play-off had been postponed "until further notice".

In a statement, NIFL said: "The NI Football League is aware of the IFA Licensing Committees decision and the appeal timelines in reference to Warrenpoint Town.

"NIFL will engage & support all stakeholders at this point.

"We can also confirm that the Premiership promotion/relegation play off scheduled for next week has been postponed until further notice."

Meanwhile, Loughgall have secured their promotion live for next season, but the Championship champions may have to start the season playing their home games at Mourneview Park until proposed work at Lakeview Park is completed.

Licensing Committee chairman Allen McKinstry said: "As always I want to recognise the work that has gone on behind the scenes at clubs over recent months to ensure licensing applications were successful.

“The record number of licences awarded (59) is testament to the hard work of applicant clubs across the country and continues to support the position that the licensing standards in place continue to be both reasonable and achievable as the process expands across our game in Northern Ireland.

“In particular I want to congratulate NIFL Women’s Premiership clubs who have gone through the licensing process for the first time."


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