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Coleraine future hangs in balance

Published: Thursday 4 August 2005, 12.39CET
Monthly review: Coleraine FC's participation in the new Northern Irish Premier Division season is unclear.

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Published: Thursday 4 August 2005, 12.39CET

Coleraine future hangs in balance

Monthly review: Coleraine FC's participation in the new Northern Irish Premier Division season is unclear.
The identity of the sides competing in the 2005/06 Northern Irish Premier Division remains unclear with Coleraine FC’s future still in the balance.

Courting disaster
It was feared the debt-ridden Bannsiders would go out of business this week a High Court bankruptcy hearing was adjourned until next Wednesday; the proceedings relate to an unpaid tax bill.

On-field honours
Coleraine won the Irish Cup in 2003 and finished in the top four in four of the past five seasons, but their fortunes off the field have not been so positive. If the current Coleraine club is forced to close, it is rumoured that a new outfit could be formed in the town and continue to enjoy senior status due to a loophole in the Irish Football Association (IFA) constitution. Confusion still reigns with the new season set to start on Saturday 13 August.

Vested interest
Two Belfast clubs will await Coleraine’s fate with interest: Crusaders FC, relegated last season, and Donegal Celtic FC, who finished third in the First Division. But IFA chief executive Howard Wells struck a positive tone, saying: "With the quality of the facilities at Coleraine it is not in the interests of Irish football to lose them. The IFA will do whatever it can to move things forward."

Vaudequin spree
The chaos surrounding Coleraine has over-shadowed other events, including Institute FC's acquisition of four foreign players. French manager Pascal Vaudequin has brought two of his compatriots to Drumahoe in goalkeeper Sullivan Jous and defender Ketchanke Bertraund, plus Belgian midfielders George N’Gomo and Nathan Ysenbart.

Kincaid switch
Tommy Kincaid, sacked as manager by newly-promoted Glenavon FC, is set to take over as assistant at champions Glentoran FC, with Jimmy Brown moving in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, Cliftonville FC are seeking a replacement for Liam Beckett, who resigned late last month.

Linfield progress
Linfield FC followed arch-rivals Glentoran's lead from last season by making progress in the UEFA Cup, beating Latvian side FK Ventspils on away goals. They now meet Swedish side Halmstads BK in the second qualifying round. Portadown FC went out to Norway's Viking FK and Glentoran's UEFA Champions League campaign ended at the hands of southerners Shelbourne FC.

U19 Championship
A major international tournament also came to Northern Ireland for the first time last month in the shape of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, France beating England in the final to keen local interest.

Last updated: 04/08/05 17.48CET

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