Thursday 14 December 2017

Athlone Town 'absolutely shocked' as FAI probe irregular betting patterns after UEFA tip-off

  • UEFA report passed on to Gardaí
  • UEFA highlighted irregular betting patterns on international markets
  • FAI has written to both clubs involved in fixture
  • Interviews with players, coaches and officials to take place next week
Athlone Town are being investigated by the FAI Newsdesk

The FAI have confirmed that they have launched an investigation after UEFA highlighted irregular betting patterns on international markets surrounding a First Division game involving Athlone Town and Longford Town last weekend.

Longford won the game 3-1 at City Calling Stadium, with visitors Athlone having a man sent off with just under 10 minutes remaining.

A statement from the association today confirmed that the report from UEFA had been passed on to the Gardai.

The statement read: "The Football Association of Ireland has launched an investigation into Athlone Town AFC regarding potential breaches of FAI rules.

"A detailed report has been received from UEFA highlighting irregular betting patterns around the club's SSE Airtricity League First Division game with Longford Town on Saturday, April 29.

"In its report to the FAI, which was received on Tuesday, May 2, UEFA presented analysis which demonstrated the irregular betting patterns on international markets.

" -The FAI has opened an investigation on the matter and a copy of UEFA's report has been submitted to An Garda Siochana

" - The FAI has written to both clubs involved in the fixture

" - Interviews will take place with players, coaches and officials of Athlone Town AFC commencing Monday, May 8

" - If the investigation determines a breach of FAI rules, charges will be issued and the matter will be heard by the FAI Disciplinary Committee, in accordance with FAI rules

" - The FAI has been monitoring the club since it received information from UEFA following an inquiry by FAI Competitions Director, Fran Gavin, prior to the start of the 2017 season

" - The FAI remains in regular contact with UEFA and will be seeking further information

" - On March 29, Mr Gavin delivered an Integrity Workshop presentation to the Athlone Town AFC senior squad and coaches on the prevention of match-fixing and betting, in his role as FAI Integrity Officer."

Athlone have released a statement this evening confirming that they will cooperate fully with the FAI investigation.

"The board and the management committee of Athlone Town AFC are absolutely shocked by the contents of documentation forwarded to us by the FAI and UEFA concerning out recent First Division game against Longford Town," it read.

"The club absolutely abhors match fixing and would never knowingly get involved in such unacceptable activity.

"The club will be fully co-operating with those conducting the investigation, and look forward to meeting with FAI officials next week.

"Should any of the allegations be upheld the club will take action against any wrongdoers.

"The club will not be commenting any further on the matter until the investigation has been completed."

In recent years, the Irish football authorities have worked closely with UEFA, FIFA and Interpol as part of the global attempt to curb the influence of betting.

Several League of Ireland games have come under suspicion, with the authorities conscious that large amounts of money are being staked on Irish football from abroad.

They are in regular contact with a special Interpol unit concentrating solely on the issue.

The struggling Midlanders have undergone substantial changes in recent months since receiving overseas investment from Portugal into their first team squad. Frenchman Marc Fourmeaux was announced as their new director of operations last month.

The club parted company with their Portuguese manager Ricardo Monsanto a fortnight ago.

More to follow

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