Two footballers, playing for Athlone Town in Ireland, have been found guilty by the FAI for breaching rules on betting.
The players who took part in this scandal were Dragos Sfrijan and Igors Labuts, who were banned from taking part in any footballing activity for a period of 12 months.
The news came after the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) had launched an investigation after Athlone’s game against Longford Town on April 29th. The game had been reported to have been “influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits” and highlighting betting patterns that were odd.
On this scandal, the FAI has since released a statement regarding the two players in question, they say:
“The investigation was then widened on May 5 to take a closer look at two other games involving the club. However, the investigators found that there was insufficient evidence around those games to bring any charges, so the investigation focused solely on the game that took place on April 29,” read the statement.
“The FAI conducted a full investigation which included conducting interviews with relevant personnel, reviewing match footage and obtaining the opinions of football experts – a final report was prepared and charges were issued.
“The Independent Disciplinary Committee met on Monday, September 4 and ruled that Athlone Town AFC players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan were in breach of three FAI rules:
– Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute
– Rule 105: Manipulating Matches
– Rule 106: Betting / Gambling
“Following the Committee’s findings both players have been banned from all football-related activities for 12 months.
“The FAI has a zero tolerance policy to match-fixing.”
Since this news has passed, the union who represent the two players has promised to appeal the ban in an attempt to save their careers.
The union states that the ban could end their careers due to their tarnished reputation, making it extremely difficult for any other club to sign them.
With the PFAI (the union) going ahead with the appeal, the club has also backed the two players, both claiming that the decision was based on “outrageous findings” and based on opinions of people.
The PFAI added, in a statement:
“It was with great disappointment and shock that such a result has occurred from what was a most serious charge with such flimsy evidence”
“The most serious allegation that can be made against a footballer must be backed up by overwhelming evidence, not half-baked innuendo.”
The appeal will be taken to a Swiss court who specialise in Sport cases.