The Romanian club owned by the Chinese agent, Xiadong "Eric" Mao descended into near mayhem last year according to Romanian sports daily Gazeta Sportiulor.
The paper has linked events at both the Romanian club and Athlone, along with those at Lisbon’s Atletico Clube de Portugal and a number of sides in the Baltic countries.
The paper reports that FC Academica Clinceni sacked its manager soon after Mao’s company, Anping Football Club Limited, took control, and replaced him with former Dinamo Bucharest defender Mugur Bolohan.
Another former Dinamo player, Alexandru Dragomir, was acting on behalf of the Chinese directors and the club's goalkeeper, Andrei Marinescu, subsequently reported him for attempting to persuade him to concede as many goals as possible during the game.
Dragomir was later banned while Marinescu left and Bolohan returned to his former club Berceni as manager. This is the club that Dragos Sfrijan left in order to join Athlone.
Clinceni, meanwhile, lost their last five league games of the campaign, conceding 13 goals, before a 6-0 defeat in a summer friendly against Russian side Amkar Perm in Austria attracted interest from the authorities over irregular betting patterns.
No direct link between Mao and Athlone has been established but he has been linked to several other European clubs including Atletico from where some of the current Athlone coaching and playing staff arrived.