Waterford United have lodged an appeal with the FAI to have the result of their promotion/relegation play-off with Dundalk overturned. The Blues are claiming that the Michael Rafter, who scored both of Dundalk’s goals in the second leg was ineligible to play.
In a statement issued by Waterford United they confirmed that “have made a protest to the FAI regarding an ineligible player”.
They went on to state that they “had given the matter careful consideration and did not make the decision to protest lightly, but the club stands over its merit. The club will not make any further statement until the process is complete”.
Dundalk are disputing the claim made by Waterford and have issued their own statement regarding the issue. They are keen to reassure their supporters that Michael Rafter’s “registration is valid” and that their belief is that the Blues complaint is based on an incorrect interpretation of the rules concerning the signature of players.
According to the Lillywhite’s statement “Michael was signed on professional terms on February 19th 2012. The deadline for signing amateur players on professional terms was February 22nd 2012. Waterford United’s contention that the deal should have been concluded by January 31st is incorrect. January 31st was the deadline for signing players on amateur terms”.
The club are also claiming that the FAI previously confirmed the validity of Michael Rafter’s registration. “Furthermore on February 29th, Dundalk FC received official notification from the FAI that Michael was fully registered with the club from February 21st onwards.”
The fate of both clubs now lies in the hands of the FAI as they must decide if the Waterford United compliant has merit. Their decision will ultimately decide which team will take their place among the teams in the top tier of Irish football, when the 2013 season kicks off.