Thursday 16 August 2018

Gardaí visit Bray Wanderers training session as part of investigation into match-fixing allegations


Bray Wanderers’ Carlisle Grounds. Photo: SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

Gardaí visited a Bray Wanderers training session on Tuesday night as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of match fixing surrounding a friendly match played last week.

The Seagulls faced Waterford on Friday, as both clubs had no competitive match due to the FAI Cup quarter-finals, with the First Division club recording a 5-0 rout.

The FAI last night confirmed that they had launched their own investigation into the alleged match-fixing.

"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," a statement read.

"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."

As part of their enquiries, gardaí arrived at the Carlisle Grounds to speak with relevant parties and the scheduled training session didn't go ahead. The Seagulls insisted they are assisting the authorities with the investigation.

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

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

The investigation comes only a week after two Athlone Town players 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 gardai 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 told the Herald.

Bray are currently fifth in the FAI Airtricity League while Waterford FC are top of the First Division, having lost only two games all season.

FAI Cup games were scheduled to take place at the weekend and, as the two teams have already been knocked out of the competition, a friendly game was organised in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, two Athlone Town FC players were handed year-long bans after being found to be in breach of FAI regulations, including game manipulation.

Latvian goalkeeper Igors Labuts and Romanian defender Dragos Sfrijan were banned from "all football activity" by the FAI for 12 months.

A disciplinary committee found they had breached three of the association’s rules, including those relating to "Manipulating Matches" and "Betting/Gambling".

The charges arose from a Division One game at Longford Town in April.  It ended in a 3-1 defeat for Athlone, after which Uefa informed the FAI of suspicious betting patterns and also contacted gardai and Interpol.

The players have since lodged an appeal against their match-fixing bans.

The Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI), which recently represented two League of Ireland players in a match-fixing probe, could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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