Quintas criticise Coughlan as FAI pull plug on Cork’s Premier Division status
FORAS battles to salvage soccer in Cork as FAI pull plug on top-flight status
CORK CITY fans today woke up to the miserable -- but not unexpected -- news that the city will be without a top-flight club next season following the late night decision by the FAI's licensing committee to deny the club a Premier Division licence for the 2010 season.
And today fans' group FORAS were immediately at work to see if they could salvage soccer at any level for Cork next season by competing in Division One, after they were formally granted a First Division licence by the FAI.
It was a long and traumatic day for Cork fans yesterday, one which began at 11am with yet another appearance in court before justice Mary Laffoy and which ended at 9.38pm last night, when an FAI statement confirmed that the licensing committee had made the only decision possible: to kick the entity that is known as Cork City out of the Premier Division, and in effect end the life of the club as it's known.
That could lead to a rebirth of soccer in the city as FORAS are aware of the great work done by the 400 Club in rescuing Shamrock Rovers and transforming them from the basket case of Irish football into the most stable club in the country.
Already, FORAS have former Cork boss Damien Richardson lined up to take charge of a team for the new season, but time is very much against them as their first fixture of the new season is against Derry City.
But the entity known as Cork City, which was owned by Tom Coughlan with a team managed by Roddy Collins, is now effectively dead. And the players who had been at the club under Collins, such as former Cork heroes George O'Callaghan and Greg O'Halloran, are now in limbo as the club they were attached to until recently is now dead, so any contracts they had are effectively null and void.
There are also implications for Bray Wanderers as they will take Cork's place in the Premier Division, and the FAI will hope and pray that FORAS will be able to arrange for a team to compete in the First Division next season.
There is a lot of work ahead of FORAS in a short space of time and today they were still assessing the damage.
"Our initial frustration and anger was directed at the FAI but looking at it now, the FAI had no real choice," FORAS spokesman John O'Sullivan said today, after yesterday's court drama which saw the takeover bid involving FORAS collapse due to the club's inability to meet their debts in time for the FAI's deadline.
"We have to respect the clubs that did things the right way," he said. "The deal that was on the table 10 days ago was the same deal that was on the table yesterday. We finally got the audited accounts at 5.50 last night, which wasn't enough time to do the work to get a licence in time."
A statement from Quintas, who were working with FORAS to take over the club, confirmed that the deal was dead in the water.
"Quintas Group can confirm that the FAI Licensing Committee has rejected Cork City FC's bid for a premier league licence," said the statement.
The decision of the licensing committee means that the deal to buy Cork City FC from Tom Coughlan will now not go ahead and the club will be wound up by the High Court tomorrow, February 23, at 2pm. "This is a sad day for us, the FAI and Cork City, as we are now left without top-flight soccer in the country's second city," said the statement.