Cork's temporary reprieve causes top-flight disarray
THE line-up of the League of Ireland's Premier Division will not be known until just 12 days before the season kicks off after Cork City were last night granted a licencing stay of execution.
The league's fixture list is due to be released tomorrow, with the first round of games to be played on Friday, March 5. However, preparations for the new season have been thrown into chaos after the Independent Club Licencing Committee announced that they have deferred their decision on Cork City's application on the basis that the club is still subject to a winding-up order in the High Court.
The move is bound to be greeted with anger by many of the clubs who submitted their licence application on time and with all criteria met -- every other team that applied was granted a licence yesterday.
The FAI have been criticised in recent years for being too lenient on clubs that run into financial difficulty, but the committee defended their decision last night.
"In making its decision, the Independent Club Licencing Committee noted that one of the fundamental principles of club licencing is the protection of creditors such as club employees, other clubs and the Revenue," read the statement.
"The Committee was made aware of a potential takeover which may result in commitments to creditors being honoured.
"As this takeover is dependent on the outcome of the High Court order, the Independent Committee felt it prudent to await that outcome and give maximum opportunity for creditors to be paid."
Cork City's future was still unclear last night after another day full of twists and turns.
Things appeared to be looking up after Justice Mary Laffoy adjourned the winding-up order against the club until next Monday pending the payment to the Revenue Commissioner of €107,653 from a previously frozen AIB account.
Justice Laffoy was told the troubled side has the funds to discharge the debt but was unable to do so because its bank account has been frozen.
The judge directed the bank to receive some €158,000 arising out of the sale of players to clubs in England and to pay out from that sum the debt due to the Revenue.
Once Revenue's debt has been satisfied, the judge said, she proposed to strike out the proceedings next Monday.
And the club's future looked even more secure when Quintas announced that the local consortium they represent were close to agreeing a takeover, having received a share purchase agreement signed by Tom Coughlan.
However, the statement said that they would purchase the club only if "current net liabilities of the club are consistent with what has been presented".
And the deal appeared to have hit a snag last night after FORAS chairman John O'Sullivan confirmed that the consortium did not receive requested documents relating to the level of the club's debt.
Licence details in factfile