Irish Premiership: Paul McAreavey's 11-game ban 'very harsh', says Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton says the mammoth 11-match ban meted out to his assistant Paul McAreavey by the IFA Disciplinary Committee is "very harsh".

McAreavey was handed the suspension for what was deemed to be "threatening or intimidating behaviour towards a match official" during a 25 August 2-2 draw with Loughgall at Lakeview Park.

The Lurgan Blues assistant entered the referee's room to talk at half-time.

"I just think it's wrong," said Hamilton of the lengthy ban.

McAreavey entered referee Evan Boyce's room at the interval with the intention of showing him a video of an incident which occurred during the first half of the Irish Premiership game.

The matter he wished to raise centred on a first-half free-kick from which Loughgall's Tiernan Kelly scored the opening goal.

Glenavon claimed that Boyce only sounded his whistle to signal for the kick to be taken after Pablo Andrade had struck the ball.

Coach Mark Ferguson was sent from the dugout before the half-time break, then McAreavey was also red-carded after entering the referee's room to request that the officials view the footage of the goal.

Ferguson received a two-game ban for "using offensive, insulting or abusive language and or gestures".

"We saw footage from the BBC which we believe proved that the whistle was blown after the free-kick and he [McAreavey] went to show the referee at half-time," explained Hamilton.

"I made sure two people went with him, our goalkeeping coach and analyst. Both heard what he said and saw what he did, but it's been deemed that he refused to leave the changing room which unfortunately gets him 11 games. It's madness."

The point earned by Hamilton's side against the Villagers in the Friday night encounter was their first in the five league games they had played to start the new campaign.

They subsequently picked up three points in a 1-0 win over Ballymena United at Mourneview Park on Saturday.

"People can lose their jobs as a result of these decisions - there was the potential if we had lost to Loughgall that we could have lost our jobs," argued Hamilton.

"It's very, very harsh to get that sort of ban. It's getting out of hand.

"We're all passionate people and get involved in the game, there are natural human reactions.

"It's getting to the stage if you celebrate a goal you can be asked to sit down. To have a threat of a natural emotion like that being taken out of the game is beyond me.

"Players, staff, supporters, we all love celebrating goals. It's not human if a decision goes against you not to complain. It's pure instinct."