Tuesday 22 August 2017

REVEALED - The betting anomaly which has triggered the FAI probe into Athlone Town

Athlone's erratic start to the campaign had become a discussion point in Irish football circles. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Irregular betting patterns surrounding a late goal conceded by Athlone Town in their 3-1 defeat to Longford Town sparked the investigation which has been launched by the FAI.

With three minutes remaining in the game and Longford leading 2-1, the odds on another goal being scored by either side was odds-on rather than odds-against.

This would be very unusual. The odds on a goal being scored with so little time remaining would be higher.

There was an indication that money was being wagered on another goal because the odds were shortening on the exchanges before the goal was scored in the 87th minute.

Anti match-fixing organisation Federbet, an organisation that has made presentations to the European Parliament, took to social media on Sunday to describe the odds on a fourth goal being scored as 'crazy'.

Their director general Francesco Barenca told Independent.ie today: "There were a couple of factors that suggest there was match-fixing in this game.

"The strange betting patterns were the most revealing aspect. The prices after 85 minutes were totally unrealistic and not related to the score of 2-1.

"For those kind of odds to prevail, it requires a significant amount of money to be wagered.

“Activity on this game was suspicious.

“I’m talking about numbers, which are clear. We monitored the odds and it was crazy.

"At Federbet, we never accuse anyone and only comment on the numbers we see.

"Before this game, we would have never talked about the Irish league. We would have considered it clean."

The FAI have been monitoring Athlone since the beginning of the season on foot of information received from UEFA and European football's governing body contacted the FAI again on Tuesday to point out the existence of irregular betting patterns in the game.

There has been a lot of talk among Athlone fans and opposition supporters this season regarding the nature of some of the team's displays and their erratic results.

The FAI confirmed on Thursday that it had launched an investigation into Athlone Town AFC upon the receipt of a detailed report from UEFA highlighting irregular betting patterns.

In a press release the association said -

- The FAI has written individually to players, coaches and officials at the club outlining arrangements for interview on Monday, May 8 and Tuesday, May 9.

- Further contact has been made with UEFA to establish more detail on the irregular betting patterns contained in its report to the FAI.

- UEFA has confirmed that the biggest movements in betting took place on Asian markets.

Athlone Town were taken over by foreign investors in the off-season but mystery surrounds the identity of those involved and the club has not disclosed their details.

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