UEFA have informed the FAI that they believe there is “overwhelming” evidence of betting corruption from Athlone Town’s game on Saturday.
Irish football’s governing body announced on Wednesday that it was launching an inquiry into the club after receiving a Uefa report into irregular betting patterns from the 3-1 loss to Longford Town.
The statement from the FAI made it clear they are investigating Athlone and NOT Longford.
The Lissywollen club’s board has already issued a statement expressing how it is “absolutely shocked” by the contents of this document.
And SunSport has learned that players have vowed to clear their names from a scandal that has rocked Irish football.
Our reporters have also seen the explosive document sent to the FAI from Uefa that contains “qualified analysis . . . from a betting integrity standpoint” of 550 global bookmakers conducted by the Euro watchdog.
The evaluation of the report stated: “There is clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of this match was unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits.
“The betting evidence ultimately indicates that bettors held prior knowledge of Athlone Town suffering a minimum two-goal defeat, in a match which contained at least two first-half goals and at least four in total.”
In particular, Uefa looked at live betting markets and believe that the odds on certain outcomes were irregular.
For instance, it highlighted how the odds of a second goal in the first half as the game reached 40 minutes were not rising as they should have given there was only five minutes to go to half-time.
Yet, once the second goal was scored, the odds did not stay low suggesting that bettors were not staking money on a high-scoring game.
There was a third goal in the first period as well, just before half-time, when the odds were deemed, by Uefa’s experts, to be at a normal level for the time of the game.
The report also states there was “highly suspicious live betting” on markets for both at least four goals being scored, and Athlone losing the game by at least two clear goals.
Uefa have highlighted how the odds of over 3.5 goals were available at 1.84 in the 89th minute when true odds would have been 5.2. The fourth goal was then scored in the 90th minute.
The report explained: “Odds once again failing to increase despite the tight time constraints of Athlone Town’s deficit being increased.
“Whilst Athlone were at a numerical disadvantage during this period as they had been reduced to ten men in the 80th minute, this had been fully accounted for by bookmakers, with the patterns that transpired firmly demonstrating that bettors were unjustifiably confident in Athlone losing by two clear goals.
“Indeed, these patterns demonstrate that bettors were in no way basing their opinions upon on-field events, and overall, the betting witnessed across all live full-time markets firmly demonstrate that bettors held prior knowledge of at least one additional goal being scored in the latter stages of the match, with clear indications that they expected Athlone to concede.”
Later, the report stated: “Bettors demonstrated a highly irregular confidence in them (Longford) extending their lead by at least one further goal. Odds failed to increase in a logical manner despite the increasingly tight time constraints on Longford extending their lead, and these patterns are deemed to be very suspicious from an integrity perspective.”
The FAI yesterday announced that they would be interviewing Athlone’s players, management and officials after being informed by Uefa of irregular betting patterns in the Midlands derby.
The Abbotstown-based Association last night revealed that the biggest movements in the betting were in Asian markets.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Athlone said: “The club absolutely abhors match-fixing and would never knowingly get involved in such unacceptable activity.
“The club will be fully co- operating with those conducting the investigation, and look forward to meeting with FAI officials next week.
“Should any of the allegations be upheld the club will take action against any wrongdoers.
“The club will not be commenting any further on the matter until the investigation has been completed.”