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Controversy Erupts As Clare Soccer League Hit Player With Ban Following Social Media Comments

There has been widespread criticism of the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) executive following a controversial ban handed out to a player arising from posts made on social media.

The offending posts relate to a post from on the CDSL Facebook page last March in which the league expressed it’s support for the then under-fire former CEO of the FAI John Delaney. The post was made after details of a €100,000 payment to the FAI by Delaney was revealed and was the first of many revelations which would ultimately lead to him leaving his position. The Clare League posted at the time that they acknowledged the contribution made to the Clare League by Delaney during his time as CEO, which included attending many functions and bringing the FAI AGM to the county in 2011.

The player in question, who was not signed to any club at the time of his initial online remarks, posted several comments in which he was critical of the stance being taken by the CDSL in relation to the matter. A further comment was posted in recent weeks again questioning the decision to back Delaney after the FAI audit report was referred to the Gardaí.

The Clare Champion understands that the ban is effective until June 2020, while the suspension will be extended until June 2021 should any more posts materialise from that player which the CDSL executive deem offensive.

A statement from the League says that it is their view that the comments posted overstepped the mark.

Their statement reads as follows:

“It has been brought to our attention that a story has been put out social media that a player was suspended in our League for criticizing us. Firstly we have no issue with criticism and everyone is entitled to their opinion. However it’s not criticism when someone takes to social media and calls our committee “shower of scumbags” and calling for “Complete reform is needed from Clare District Soccer League committee”. The player was suspended for bringing the game into disrepute and is entitled to appeal this decision to the MFA as per rules if he is not happy with it.

It should also be pointed out while the player in question is a registered player in our League he has not played all season with that club and the person that started the petition plays on his team and would be well aware of this.”

The player in question hit back at this with his statement outlined below

“Ridiculous statement from CDSL, they left out the part that the reason I called them “a shower of scumbags” was because they had deleted a huge number of comments that questioned their post defending Delaney. Pretty scummy thing to do in my opinion and I had posted it straight after they deleted the comments so things were pretty heated.

I stand by my comments back in March that the Fai needs a complete reform from the Clare league up, and this fiasco has just proven my point even more. Bully tactics have been used and any player that has tried to defend me have been threatened with bans.

The main thing is I wasn’t even signed for any club last March when I made these original comments, I was commenting as a member of the general public, so I’m not sure how somebody who isn’t even a member of the league can bring the league into disrepute. The only comment I ever made while a member of the CDSL was “where are the Delaney defenders now Clare District Soccer League, shame on you” while sharing an article confirming that Delaney was going to be investigated for the guards.

With regards to them saying I haven’t played a game all season, I’m not sure what relevance that has to the ban they’ve given me, why did they bother banning me so? For the record I moved to Galway shortly after signing. And I have been informed that I will not be able to sign for a club in Galway while this ban is active.

In my eyes there are only 2 things here that have brought Clare Soccer into disrepute;

The first being their original post defending John Delaney

The second being them banning a player who did nothing more than voice his opinion on something I think is an absolute disgrace.

In their statement the CDSL have said I am “entitled to appeal this decision to the MFA as per rules if he is not happy with it”. I think everybody in the country knows how little of a chance I have of overturning it through those channels.

I’ll say once and I’ll say it again; Shame on you Clare District Soccer League”.

TD Noel Rock and PFAI solicitor Stuart Gilhooly are just two of the more high-profile figures to call on the CDSL to reverse the ban. An online petition has also been signed by hundreds of people.

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