Saturday 23 June 2018

Irish soccer rocked by second Garda match-fixing probe

Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

Irish soccer has been rocked by another match-fixing allegation after a Garda investigation was launched into a recent game involving Airtricity League team Bray Wanderers.

The Irish Independent can reveal detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, formerly known as the Fraud Squad, questioned a number of players on Tuesday night as part of their probe.

The inquiry centres on a friendly game with Waterford FC, which took place last Friday. Before kick-off, Waterford were 5/1 to win the game. They ended up beating Bray 5-0.

The investigation comes only a week after Athlone Town players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan were each handed year-long bans from competitive football after a lengthy match-fixing probe.

A number of detectives arrived at Bray's training ground shortly after 5pm on Tuesday, and several players were questioned. Officers also examined mobile phones belonging to the team members, but no arrests were made.

"A number of gardaí came in and looked through the players' phones in detail. The club did not proceed with the training after their players were questioned," a source said.

Gardaí will also examine any footage available of the game as part of their inquiries.

"The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is investigating this matter. As it is an ongoing investigation we will not be commenting further," a Garda spokesman said last night.

Investigation

It is understood that as part of the probe, gardaí will examine whether there were any unusual betting patterns.

Bray Wanderers said in a statement: "Bray Wanderers FC wish to acknowledge that they are aware of an investigation by An Garda Síochána into a recent fixture involving the Club.

"We are cooperating fully and will be making no further comment until the investigation is completed and we have been presented with the findings."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Waterford FC said they could not comment in relation to the incident until more specific information is made available.

The FAI said in a statement last night: "The Football Association of Ireland has launched an investigation into alleged match fixing surrounding the friendly match between Bray Wanderers FC and Waterford FC on Friday, September 8, at the Carlisle Grounds.

"Upon receipt of a complaint the FAI notified An Garda Síochána and the Association has now launched an investigation into alleged breaches of FAI Rules. The FAI has a zero tolerance policy to match fixing."

Irish Independent

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