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Clare footballer has suspension lifted following league's disrepute charge

The saga began over a series of social media comments, some of which questioned the league’s support of John Delaney.

AN AMATEUR FOOTBALLER has had a six-month suspension imposed by the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) lifted following the league’s being fined by the FAI for bringing the game into disrepute. 

Shannon Town C footballer Jordan Downes was suspended in November 2019 for making “abusive comments” on social media related to the league’s show of support for John Delaney.

At a hearing conducted by the FAI Disciplinary Committee on Wednesday 4 March, the Clare and District League was charged with bringing the game into disrepute by failing to follow proper procedures in the case.

The FAI’s Disciplinary Control Unit did not overturn Downes’ ban as they said it is not within their jurisdiction to do so.

The league has since lifted the suspension. 

In a letter to Downes’ solicitor, legal representatives for the league wrote that “this action has been taken by them as a gesture in sport and is not to be regarded as an admission that Mr. Downes was treated unfairly by the CDSL.” 

Although Downes is now free to play football, all football activity in the country has been suspended until at least 29 March amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Downes’ suspension made national headlines in December when he claimed that he had been suspended for criticising the League’s public support of former FAI CEO John Delaney. 

The player had left a comment beneath an official post made on the League’s Facebook page in March 2019 “acknowledging the contribution John has made to our League during his time as CEO”.

Minutes from a League Committee meeting on 2 December 2019, seen by The42, say that the initial Facebook post in support of John Delaney was approved by all members of the committee. 

The issue reared its head again in November 2019 when Downes posted a Facebook link and a comment on the news that the independent KOSI audit into the FAI’s financial affairs had been referred to An Garda Síochána.

Downes’ club, Shannon Town, were made aware of this post and contacted the League to say that they did not support Downes’ “inexcusable” behaviour, and that he was facing a “massive suspension”.

The League Committee unanimously suspended Downes from all football-related activity until 1 June 2020, citing “a series of abusive comments”.

The League then wrote to Shannon Town on 3 December to inform them of the suspension and advise that “any repeat of this behaviour will automatically trigger an increase in this suspension until 1 June 2021″.

The suspension has now been lifted, and Downes today tweeted “Victory at last, I know how little it matters with everything going on at the moment but it is absolutely brilliant to have this ridiculous ban overturned.” 

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