Athlone Town match-fixing case could end up in CAS

FAI brought charges against four members of Athlone Town on Saturday

 

The Players Football Association of Ireland (PFAI) are prepared to defend their members at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against charges brought over the weekend by the FAI in relation to the Athlone Town match-fixing case.

A total of four members of Athlone Town, one from the non-playing side of the club, have been charged. Three different rule breaches relating to manipulating matches, betting/gambling and bringing the game into disrepute have been cited by the FAI who have convened a hearing of the Independent Disciplinary Committee on August 3rd.

It is understood two players requesting representation from the PFAI are part of the first-team squad at Athlone. Two months ago, on foot of a request by Uefa, the FAI mounted an investigation into irregular betting activities around Athlone’s game against Longford Town on April 29th. The investigation was widened to include two more of the club’s games.

The PFAI, which has in recent months clashed with the FAI over representation rights for the Republic of Ireland women’s squad, has questioned the FAI’s handling of the investigation and the presence of sufficient evidence to instigate charges.

“The players in this instance were interviewed at length by the FAI and provided full details of phone records and bank accounts,” read a statement. “The players have denied all wrongdoing from the moment they were made aware of this investigation and this remains the case. The allegations that have been made against these players are of the most serious nature.

“There is nothing more damaging to a player’s integrity. 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.

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

The FAI were unavailable to provide a response to the PFAI’s comments.

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