Athlone Town claim match fixing investigators have ignored their 'basic human rights'
Athlone Town have released a lengthy statement hitting out at the investigators of the match fixing allegations surrounding the club, claiming that the process 'has descended into a witch hunt'.
Last week the FAI revealed that charges have been brought against some Athlone players for 'bringing the game into disrepute, manipulating matches and betting/gambling', with Athlone today responding to these developments in a press release.
"The Board of Management of Athlone Town AFC would like to express its disappointment and anger over the manner in which the club has been treated since allegations concerning match fixing first emerged.
"Indeed the claims are on such a scale that they have brought an unprecedented and highly negative level of international and national media attention to the club.
"The club, which denies any wrongdoing, has at all times indicated its willingness to cooperate fully with the process initiated by UEFA and investigated by the FAI.
"The club has done so honestly, and in an open and transparent fashion.
"As part of the investigatory process the club has adhered to confidentiality agreements which each and every member of the club was obliged to commit to under the threat of charge for non-cooperation.
"However in the club's opinion the process has descended into a witch hunt rather than a probe to establish the truth.
"The club firmly believes that the investigation/disciplinary process is deeply flawed.
"In our opinion the investigators have acted with perceived bias, and have ignored basic human rights, civil liberties, and natural justice to which each and every person is entitled.
"The club has repeatedly stated its firm view that the investigation should have been a matter for An Garda Síochána or another police authority.
"This is because we believe the FAI lacks the investigative abilities or resources to enable it to find evidence (if any existed), to support the most serious of allegations being made against the club."
The statement continues thereafter, with Athlone expressing their disappointment with the charges brought against their players, the 'coupling of unrelated charges' and media coverage of the scandal.