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*Oliver Fitzpatrick. Photograph: Martin Connolly

A decision by the FAI that the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) was guilty of bringing the game has been successfully appealed.

In March, the FAI issued a €500 fine and warning to the CDSL for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. It followed a decision by the CDSL in November to ban Shannon Town C footballer Jordan Downes for six months for “abusive comments” posted on the social media pages of the CDSL criticising their support of ex FAI CEO, John Delaney.

His suspension made national headlines at the time. Downes’ ban was lifted following the March hearing. Stuart Gilhooly, solicitor of the League of Ireland players’ union, the PFAI who represented Downes had branded the handling of the matter as a shambles.

Ex Chairperson, Oliver Fitzpatrick in one of his final acts in the role lodged a successful appeal against the FAI decision. The appeal was made in March but was not heard until the end of August due to COVD-19 restrictions.

Fitzpatrick prepared the submission and represented the CDSL at the hearing. He flagged “a number of discrepancies” in the FAI’s handling of the original case. Both parties reached an agreement that leagues are not responsible for communication between a club and its players on disciplinary matters.

Last month, the €500 appeal fee was returned to the CDSL.

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