Latest hearing into Ballymena Irish Cup case on Tuesday

Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson scored the winning goal for Ballymena against Newry

The independent hearing into Ballymena United's expulsion from the Irish Cup will start in Belfast on Tuesday.

Ballymena beat Newry City in the quarter-finals but were thrown out of the competition after an appeals board ruled that striker Alan Davidson had been ineligible for the game.

The Braidmen then launched a further appeal which led to the setting up of Tuesday's latest hearing.

A English-based independent QC is expected to head the appeal hearing.

BBC Sport understands that a Belfast solicitor and a law lecturer are also on the panel with the adjudication expected to be revealed on Wedesday.

As it stands, Newry are scheduled to face Linfield in the cup semi-final but that game has been put on hold pending Ballymena's appeal.

Ballymena said that they had received "no explanation" as to why the IFA's initial decision was changed.

Three weeks ago, the Irish FA's cup committee rejected Newry's initial protest, despite the Championship club pointing out that Ballymena had signed Davidson after the 31 January deadline.

However, the IFA's Appeals Board then overturned that ruling a fortnight ago.

Davidson, who joined Ballymena in February, scored the winner when United beat Newry 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

A statement from the association read: "After a lengthy and detailed consideration of the submissions made by Newry City and the IFA Challenge Cup Committee, the Appeals Board unanimously upheld the appeal of Newry and found that Ballymena United's Alan Davidson was not eligible to play in the match. Newry City are therefore reinstated into the 2012 JJB Sports Irish Cup."

When the original protest by Newry was turned down, the Challenge Cup committee said it was felt the cup's rules had to be read in parallel with the IFA Premiership Rules and Fifa regulations covering the status and transfer of players.

Davidson's registration with his previous club, Glenavon, was cancelled on 3 January and Ballymena registered him on 28 February.

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