Two Athlone Town players have been banned from all football-related activities for 12 months after being found guilty of match-fixing.
The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan have been found to be in breach of FAI rules by an Independent Disciplinary Committee.
On May 3, an investigation was launched following a UEFA Betting Fraud Detection System report demonstrated “clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of” Athlone Town's game against Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity League First Division on April 29 “was unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits”.
The investigation was then widened on May 5 to take a closer look at two other games involving the club. However, the investigators found that there was insufficient evidence around those games to bring any charges, so the investigation focused solely on the game that took place on April 29.
Pictured above is Dragos Sfrijan
Upon receipt of the UEFA BFDS report, the FAI conducted a full investigation which included conducting interviews with relevant personnel, reviewing match footage and obtaining the opinions of football experts - a final report was prepared and charges were issued.
The Independent Disciplinary Committee met on Monday, September 4, and ruled that Athlone Town AFC players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan were in breach of three FAI rules:
- Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute
- Rule 105: Manipulating Matches
- Rule 106: Betting / Gambling
Following the committee's findings both players have been banned from all football-related activities for 12 months.
Athlone Town FC has consistently said that it abhors match-fixing. The club itself was not subject to any FAI charges.