FAI end investigation into suspicious betting on Bray-Waterford game

Insufficient evidence uncovered to bring charges says league director Fran Gavin

The FAI has dropped its investigation into what was regarded as suspicious betting activity in connection with a friendly between Bray Wanderers and Waterford last season with league director Fran Gavin acknowledging that, despite Garda involvement and 25 interviews, not enough evidence was uncovered to bring charges against anyone.

“We’ve done a thorough investigation into the game against Waterford and found that there’s insufficient evidence to bring a charge,” says Gavin. “The case is now closed.”

Gavin declined to comment on the ongoing match-fixing case against former Athlone Town players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan whose appeals against one-year bans have been delayed by a dispute over whether new evidence can be introduced by the association.

He also refused to comment on the entirely separate attempt by that club to wrest control of the stadium where its first team plays from the local man, Declan Molloy, who put up almost €600,000 of his own money to buy the ground and then make it available to the club for a nominal rent. The rather remarkable case had been crawling towards a resolution in the High Court but now appears to have been diverted into arbitration.


Foreign investors

Molloy’s support for the club had previously kept Athlone Town afloat but the current board famously attracted foreign investors last year who provided a number of players to it including the two that were banned for match-fixing.

Athlone’s first game of last season was held up by a floodlight failure while its last might have been affected by a lack of match balls had UCD not brought a few with them. The club, though, has just received a Premier Division license.

The venue for the game next Friday between Derry City and Sligo Rovers has been switched to The Showgrounds as the reconstructed Brandywell is not yet ready to be used.

"It looks well, really good," says Gavin, "but it won't be ready for the first game so they will play that in Sligo, both clubs agreed. It's a bit behind time but we're confident, and the club are confident, that it will be ready for the game with Dundalk. They are 20 years trying to get new facilities into the stadium there, a few weeks extra will be worth it; it will make a huge difference."

Sligo Rovers chairman Martin Heraghty said the switch raises difficulties for the club "but due to the circumstances, it was something we felt we had to agree to".

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times