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Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Linfield and Glens get ban lifted

Trouble at Windsor Park
Police confronted Glentoran supporters in the North Stand at Windsor Park

The decision to ban Glentoran and Linfield playing on public holidays for two years has been overturned.

The JJB Sports Premiership's top two clubs appealed the ban which had been imposed by the Irish FA's disciplinary committee on 16 February.

An appeals panel described the sanction as unjust and inappropriate.

However, the 1,000 fine on each club still stands and they face a penalty of up to 40,000 if crowd trouble occurs at future holiday fixtures.

The disciplinary measures followed disturbances at the Linfield v Glentoran derby on 26 December.

The Boxing Day match was held up for seven minutes when riot police had to be called in as spectators tore out seats and threw missiles.

The appeals board said the decision to ban holiday matches would have been unfair on true supporters.

It also recognised the clubs' effort in promoting football for all spectators and called for legislation to help the police prosecute those who caused trouble at matches.

However, the appeals panel said the clubs had to face their responsibilities and that disruption could not be tolerated.

It imposed a two-year suspended penalty of up to 40,000 running from 1 August, 2009 and covering matches played on a public holiday, bank holiday or in the period between 24 December and 2 January.

A statement from the appeals panel concluded: "We are providing supporters with the opportunity to see their teams play, and clubs to promote their teams.

"However, the onus is on the clubs and supporters to ensure these matches are the enjoyable events they should be and take action to prevent disruption."

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster, Glentoran chairman Aubry Ralph said he was "delighted that the ban had been overturned but a bit worried about the suspended fine".

"Both Linfield and ourselves are a bit concerned about that and we may have further discussions about it.

"I'm not sure who will decide what is serious disorder, but hopefully we will have no trouble at the matches at all."

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see also
Linfield 3-0 Glentoran
26 Dec 08 |  Irish

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