Former Ireland striker Niall Quinn feels members of the Athlone Town squad who are not involved in the allegations about irregular betting patterns at the club are “victims” in the scandal.
The FAI have launched an investigation into claims surrounding last week’s league defeat to Longford Town and an FAI delegation will interview the club’s players, and staff, next week as part of their inquiry.
Quinn points out that the rules in horse racing - where jockeys are banned from any form of betting - are clearer than in football and he now feels for the innocent players at Athlone.
“The guys down in Athlone, some of them are victims now without even knowing what has happened. I feel for them,” says Quinn.
“They’re giving their all and now to be shrouded in this shadow, it has to be really, really clear, I think, the relationship between football industry, bookmakers and players themselves.
“In horse racing the jockeys aren’t allowed bet: owners and trainers are, it seems to be safer there. Football is bit more wide open at the moment,” added Quinn, speaking at the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Initiative.
“I’ve read stuff in the GAA about this, players betting on club matches and Under-21 matches and it’s something that really needs to be looked at.
“You’ve got really genuine lads down there in Athlone training their backsides off, working really hard to get things going and now all of a sudden you’ve got press guys holding investigations. It’s really, really harsh and unfair. If there is wrongdoing fine, ok, we can all say that shouldn’t happen,” added Quinn.
League of Ireland
Drogheda United striker Stephen Elliott made a recent appearance on LOI Weekly to discuss a range of matters including his time under current Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane at Sunderland.