CCIFL Ltd, the holding company of Cork City FC, have been refused a Premier Division licence for the upcoming League of Ireland season. However, it still seems likely that Leeside will be represented by a football club in the LoI for 2010 after FORAS were granted a licence to compete in the First Division.
The decision from the Independent Club Licensing Committee means that the company will now be placed into liquidation tomorrow after a winding-up order imposed today (February 22nd) was put on hold until the licensing decision was made.
With a consortium made up of local businessmen Peter Gray, Michael O’Connell and supporters trust FORAS stating that they would clear debts of over €600,000 if Cork were awarded a Premier Division licence, it seemed that despite breaking the rulebook the club would still have been granted permission to compete in the Premier Division this season.
Nonetheless, the Independent Club Licensing Committee have taken a firm stance on the matter by denying Cork a chance to remain in the top flight, which also means that they will lose their Europa League spot too.
A statement released by the Licensing Committee read: "The Independent Club Licensing Committee met this evening (22/01/10) and unanimously decided to refuse the Premier Division Licence application of Cork City Investment FC Ltd," read a statement released through the FAI.
"Having carefully considered the application and all of the documentation submitted it was the view of the Committee that the club fell seriously short of the criteria required to fulfil a Premier Division Licence in a number of areas.
Cork can appeal the decision but it now looks likely that FORAS will start from scratch in the First Division after they were granted a licence to compete in the second tier.
"The committee also considered the application from Friends of the Rebel Army Society (FORAS) and agreed to grant a First Division Licence for the 2010 season."
A spokesperson for the consortium that had looked to take over the club on the condition they would receive a licence have also confirmed that they have now pulled out of the deal with the club being put into liquidation at 2pm tomorrow.
The spokesperson continued: "With the decision of the Licencing Committee not to grant a Premier League licence, we're unable to proceed with our bid. Unfortunately, this means that the club will be wound up, with devastating consequences for staff, players and creditors."
"This is a sad day for us, the FAI and Cork City, as we are now left without top-flight soccer in the country's second city."
It now paves the way for Bray Wanderers to return to the top-flight by default, with Dundalk expected to take the Europa League spot.
Alan Smith works as a sub-editor for the Guardian newspaper in London. Originally from Cork, he freelances for several other newspapers and websites. Follow him on twitter @alansmith90.
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