Rory Donnelly: Cliftonville striker given three-month ban by Irish FA

Rory Donnelly
Rory Donnelly is in his second spell with Cliftonville

Cliftonville striker Rory Donnelly has been given a three-month suspension by the Irish FA over a social media post.

The 26-year-old's ban begins on 30 July, with half of the sanction suspended until the end of the 2018-19 season. The club has a right of appeal.

Donnelly's charge relates to a breach of regulations regarding "behaviour that damages or could damage the integrity of matches and competitions".

He will miss the first six weeks of the campaign, which begins on 4 August.

It is understood Donnelly's punishment followed a message the player posted on WhatsApp about Cliftonville's team selection before their final match of the Irish Premiership season against Linfield on 28 April.

Charge accepted

The Irish FA Discipline Committee's decision was announced on Wednesday evening after a hearing with the player.

The charge was accepted, therefore the Discipline Committee considered submissions made by the club in mitigation, both verbally and in writing.

The former Swansea City and Gillingham striker was charged with a breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association, as evidenced by a breach of Regulations 45 and 46(c) of the Irish FA football regulations.

These state that anyone "bound by the IFA's rules and regulations must refrain from any behaviour that damages or could damage the integrity of matches and competitions and must cooperate fully with the IFA at all times in its efforts to combat such behaviour".

They go on to state that "the integrity of matches and competitions is violated, for example, by anyone who uses or provides others with information which is not publicly available, which is obtained through his position in football, and damages or could damage the integrity of a match or competition".