Limavady United will not be promoted even if they win the league after their application for a licence to play in Championship One of the Irish League was rejected.
However, United’s Chairman David Young said the club will be appealing the decision.
Disappointed isn’t the word - I am devastated.Paul Owens
The Roesiders have enjoyed a brilliant season so far and are well in the hunt to win the Championship Two title with just four games remaining.
However, for the second time in recent years, they won’t be able to win promotion even if they do win the league because of problems with licensing.
Manager Paul Owens said both he and the players were “devastated” after the club were informed on Friday morning that the licence had been rejected.
He said: “I don’t know how the appeals process or anything like that works but we were told on Friday morning that it was rejected.
“Disappointed isn’t the word. I am devastated. However, when we set out at the start of the season the objective was to win the league and that is still the objective. If you start looking for excuses you are going to find them and that is what I am going to be saying to the players.
“We are still going to be trying to win the league because at least we will be able to say we are good enough to be a Championship One team. If we don’t win promotion at least in that way it wouldn’t be anything to do with us. I want to be able to say ‘we did our part’.”
However, the IFA say they have yet to officially decide whether to grant a Championship Licence to the club.
The IFA, in a statement issued to this newspaper, acknowledged that the club had submitted an application that will be decided on April 25.
A spokesman for the IFA said: “Limavady United FC has submitted an application for the award of a Championship Licence for season 2016-17. The application will be considered, along with all other applicant clubs, at the Licensing Committee decision making meeting to be held on 25th April 2016.”
Club Chairman Mr Young said: “We are certainly going to be appealing the decision. Our Board meeting will take place on Thursday night and we will take it from there.
“It is perhaps doubtful whether any appeal will be successful but it is difficult to know at this stage. What I would say is that there are a lot of clubs who are in a more difficult financial situation than ourselves. We are not in a financial situation. Our accounts are good. It is a technicality that has crept up. We have a meeting on Thursday night and we will take it from there.
“In terms of the IFA, there is a lot that can still happen. In my opinion, there are quite a few teams who, if the IFA was being honest, would not be granted a licence.”