Sunday 22 September 2019

Independent arbitrator dismisses appeal of former Athlone keeper Igor Labut's over offences relating to match-fixing

Former Athlone Town goalkeeper Igor Labuts. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Athlone Town goalkeeper Igor Labuts. Photo: Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

An independent arbitrator has dismissed an appeal from former Athlone keeper Igor Labut's appeal over for offences related to match-fixing.

Labuts and ex-Athlone team-mate Dragos Sfrijan were found to be in breach of FAI rules under the heading of manipulating matches, betting/gambling and bringing the game into disrepute.

The charges arose from a First Division match with Longford in April 2017.

Their year-long bans have since expired but the pair still protested their innocence and instigated an appeal process with a view to clearing their record.

Sfrijan opted against continuing with that battle as he is now back living in his native Romania, where he secured a job outside of football.

However, Labuts, who has returned to Latvia where he is still active in the game, was determined to keep fighting his case.

A statement from the FAI today confirmed that the independent arbitrator had upheld their decision against Labuts.

It read: "The Football Association of Ireland welcomes the decision from an Independent Arbitrator on the appeal to arbitration by Igor Labuts of the Independent Disciplinary Appeal Committee's decision.

"Both Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan had been found to be in breach of three FAI rules by an Independent Disciplinary Committee on September 7, 2017. The Rules breached were: Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute,  Rule 105: Manipulating Matches, Rule 106: Betting / Gambling

"The two players were subsequently banned from all football-related activities for 12 months.

"On Thursday, October 4, the Independent Disciplinary Appeal Committee dismissed the appeal of Mr Sfrijan following his absence from the appeal hearing. The Independent Disciplinary Committee also rejected the appeal of Mr Labuts.

"Mr Labuts, in accordance with FAI Rules, appealed the decision of the Independent Disciplinary Appeal Committee to a single arbitrator. The Arbitrator heard the matter on Thursday, November 22 and a final decision was reached, whereby the original decision taken by the FAI Disciplinary Committee has been upheld and the original sanction was also upheld.

"The breach concerns Athlone Town's game against Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity League First Division on April 29, 2017.

"The FAI has a zero tolerance policy to match-fixing."

Labuts now has the option of appealing the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.

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