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Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Let police probe bet claims' - Athlone

Athlone Town goalkeeper Igor Labuts has insisted he will co-operate with the FAI’s investigation. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Athlone Town goalkeeper Igor Labuts has insisted he will co-operate with the FAI’s investigation. Photo: SPORTSFILE

A "disgusted" Athlone Town have said they want a wider investigation with "no stone left unturned" into the alleged betting scandal which has seen the midlands club make headlines worldwide.

An FAI delegation will this morning begin a two-day series of interviews with Athlone's players, staff and officials relating to allegations of irregular betting patterns in at least three of the side's games so far this season.

And ahead of those interviews, the club last night issued a strongly-worded statement saying they were "disgusted and angry that games in which the club played might have been unduly influenced, or that match-fixing has occurred".

And Athlone called for a wider scope for the investigations. "Athlone Town AFC wants relevant police forces to investigate these serious allegations," the statement said.

"We want An Garda Síochána, Europol, Interpol and UEFA itself to immediately open parallel investigations to the one being currently conducted by the Football Association of Ireland. It is our strong opinion that no stone should be left unturned in relation to these very damaging claims."

It was a busy weekend for the embattled club: on Friday, Athlone managed a shock 2-1 victory at home to Cobh.

One of the Town players, Latvian keeper Igor Labuts, broke his silence as he told the Sunday World that "I know I'm not a top class keeper. I'm trying to play and do my best" and he promised to cooperate with the inquiry."

The club raised further issues on the takeover of the club earlier this year by saying that the FAI "has received all documents pertaining to the investor agreement. That arrangement was discussed at a number of meetings with, and ratified by, the FAI". The FAI still refuse to identify the individuals with whom they met.

"If any of the allegations are upheld it is not just the club and its supporters, but also the FAI and football itself that will have been duped. The club will work side by side with the FAI to ensure that the full truth and all the surrounding facts concerning these allegations of match fixing emerge," the club said.

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