Portadown 'formulate a response' to NIFL teamsheet query but Larne now 'happy'

Larne stand confident of clearance in any Northern Ireland Football League investigation into fixture teamsheet issues – with Portadown opting to delay comment until a response has been delivered to officials following speculation over a potential forfeit of points.

NIFL yesterday confirmed in a statement the decision to open an investigation into Larne’s 1-0 win over Glenavon last Friday and the Portadown victory by 3-1 against Newry City on Sunday.

NIFL, when approached for comment following speculation in Irish League circles over issues with the player teamsheet process for the two Premiership fixtures, confirmed in a statement as follows: “The NI Football League has been made aware of queries raised from games this weekend and an investigation on these matters is underway.”

In response to reports, Larne issued a statement yesterday evening which confirmed, from the club’s stance, that any investigation is now a closed matter.

Alberto Balde (left) celebrating with team-mates during Portadown's win over Newry City

“Following speculation in the media regarding our game against Glenavon on Friday, we have been in touch with NIFL,” it read. “We are happy to report they have confirmed our line-up was correctly submitted, according to NIFL requirements.“We are pleased that any potential queries regarding this matter have swiftly addressed.”

It is understood Larne stated they submitted the correct team into the NIFL system, as per regulations, after an incorrect line-up was posted over the club social media.

Portadown secured a first win of the season against Newry, with the issue around a late change to the starting line-up originally submitted before the NIFL deadline.

Alberto Balde was replaced post-deadline on the teamsheet starting side by Leo Donnellan, with the former then introduced as a substitute.

When approached for comment, Portadown opted against releasing any official statement at this time but confirmed a letter from NIFL did arrive with the Shamrock Park club yesterday.

"We do not wish to make any official statement at this time as we formulate a response to the NIFL request for the club’s comments on the matter,” said a Portadown spokesman on behalf of the Board of Directors.