THE Irish FA has rejected Institute’s appeal against relegation from the Irish Premiership.
Institute were relegated to the Championship after a mathematical formula used to decide standings in the Northern Ireland Football League.
The IFA said NIFL had “an unenviable task” of trying to find a suitable conclusion to the season.
It also dismissed that “undue influence” was exerted by members of the Steering Group or the NIFL Board.
Institute submitted their appeal to the Irish FA on 26 June, citing it was statistically possible to avoid relegation with seven games remaining.
‘Stute’ also hit out at other Premiership clubs, saying “at a time when the wider community were so united in their attempt to support each other during the Covid crisis, our ‘football family’ did not appear to have a similar focus”.
On Tuesday, the club said the delay in a verdict to their appeal against their Irish Premiership relegation is “exacerbating the injustice of the original NIFL decision”.
Announcing the outcome of the appeal, the IFA said that while it had empathy with the club over the outcome of the curtailed season “automatic relegation is a part and parcel of the football cycle”.
The Appeal Board also noted that NIFL did examine the potential for increasing numbers in its divisions to avoid relegation, however “it is accepted they did not see it as a feasible option due to the inability for feeder clubs to make up the lower leagues if relegation was not opted for”.
It also disputed Institute’s claim that the issue of relegation had “not been either communicated or had been ignored”, citing minutes from a NIFL board meeting on 22 June.The IFA added: “We do not accept that the NIFL Board acted in a way which was in contravention of IFA Competition Integrity Regulations.
“According to the evidence before us, we consider there was majority support from members to curtail the season.
“Furthermore, we were not presented with any cogent evidence to substantiate the claim of the exertion of undue influence by individuals within appointed bodies.”
The Drumahoe side had been playing its home games at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium after its Riverside Stadium pitch was first waterlogged in a flood and then its changing rooms were destroyed by fire.