Injunction row over Athlone Town players’ match-fixing inquiry resolved

Players found guilty last year by FAI committee of deliberate actions to manipulate a result

Lissywollen Stadium, the home of Athlone Town FC. File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Lissywollen Stadium, the home of Athlone Town FC. File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

A High Court action over a temporary injunction halting an alleged match fixing inquiry involving two former Athlone Town footballers has been resolved.

Goalkeeper Igor Labuts and midfielder Dragos Sfrijan last December obtained the injunction against the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) over an attempt to introduce new evidence into their appeal against their year-long suspensions following an investigation.

They claimed the new evidence was highly prejudicial, was not put before the original disciplinary hearing, and was contrary to natural justice. They also feared they would not get a fair hearing at their appeal as a result of the introduction of the new evidence.

The court heard that, in correspondence, the FAI denied the material was prejudicial or that the players would not get a fair hearing. The appeal hearing was due to take place just before last Christmas.

The footballers, from Latvia and Romania respectively, played with Athlone Town in the League of Ireland First Division during the 2017 season.

Arising out a game between Athlone and Longford Town last April they were investigated by the FAI following claims of irregular betting patterns.

Last September the players, who deny any wrongdoing, were found guilty by an FAI disciplinary committee of deliberate actions in order to manipulate the result of a match.

12-month suspensions

They were given 12-month suspensions from any football activities.

They appealed and later obtained the temporary injunction against the FAI which prevented the appeal from going ahead.

The hearing of the application to continue the injunction pending full trial was due to take place on Wednesday before Ms Justice Marie Baker.

Following talks, Paul McGarry SC, for the players, and Paul Gardiner SC, for the FAI, told Ms Justice Baker the matter could be struck out.