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Players reject 'match fixing' allegations

Tuesday, 11th July, 2017 3:11pm

Players reject 'match fixing' allegations

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Athlone Town has reiterated its view that no one associated with the club has been involved in match fixing of any sort.

And the association representing football players, the PFAI, has claimed the charges against two of its members have been brought "without any evidence". It said the sole basis of the charges were that there were 'suspicious betting patterns' and the subjective view of a panel which viewed video footage of the game at the centre of the controversy.

The club issued a statement over the weekend on foot of the news that the FAI has brought charges against what it said were "members of Athlone Town AFC" following an investigation into allegations of match fixing.
 In a statement on Saturday, the FAI said the charges have been brought under three FAI Rules, which relate to bringing the game into disrepute; manipulating matches and betting/gambling.

A disciplinary hearing will take place next month.

It's understood the four people charged include three members of the playing staff and a non-playing member. Two of the three players have been charged with a breach of the rule regarding match manipulation, and the others have a case to answer on the lesser charges.

In its statement, Athlone Town said its board and management committee were "disappointed with the FAI's decision to bring charges against members of the club as part of the investigation into alleged match fixing"

The club said it was important to note that no finding has been made against the club itself.

Athlone Town AFC's board is currently in the process of assessing documentation provided by the FAI in relation to the charges. It said a further statement would be released after the basis of the charges have been fully examined.

The club said it also awaited "the production of all the evidence related to the allegations the individuals have been charged with from the FAI" in advance of the disciplinary hearings.

It said it wished to remind the public and the media that everyone at Athlone Town AFC denies being involved in match fixing/match manipulation of any sort and added: "At this point in time no finding of wrongdoing has been made against any coach, player or official at the club."

Meanwhile, the PFAI confirmed it had been asked to represent two professional players who play for Athlone Town and who have been accused of being in breach of FAI Rule 99 (Bringing the game into disrepute) FAI Rule 105 (Manipulating matches) and FAI Rule 106 (Betting/Gambling). The allegations arise out of a match played against Longford Town on April 29.

"The players have denied all wrongdoing from the moment they were made aware of this investigation and this remains the case. They have done all that was asked of them to assist in the investigation which they believed would be carried out in a fair and objective manner," the statement said.

The PFAI claimed that the sole basis for the charges were that there were suspicious betting patterns and a panel of three experts were of the opinion that some of players' actions were suspicious.

"No other "evidence" whatsoever has been proffered," it said.

"For such charges to be levelled, the evidence against them should be overwhelming. Unless there is further evidence which the FAI is withholding, basing charges of this nature on these two players on the subjective opinion of two out of three people, watching TV footage and hand picked by the prosecutor, the FAI, is astonishing," it said.

"The players will defend these allegations vigorously and will do so as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary."