FAI to investigate 'irregular betting' in connection to Athlone Town

Things have gone from bad to worse for Athlone Town FC, as the Football Association of Ireland have launched an official investigation into irregular betting patterns during last weekend's game versus Longford Town (April 29 ).

A statement release by the FAI this week said the association received a report from UEFA highlighting "irregular betting patterns on international markets" during The Town's 3-1 defeat to Longford.

"The FAI has opened an investigation on the matter and a copy of UEFA's report has been submitted to An Garda Siochana. The FAI has written to both clubs involved in the fixture. Interviews will take place with players, coaches and officials of Athlone Town AFC commencing Monday, May 8," the FAI statement reads.

"If the investigation determines a breach of FAI rules, charges will be issued and the matter will be heard by the FAI Disciplinary Committee.

"The FAI has been monitoring the club since it received information from UEFA following an inquiry by FAI competitions director, Fran Gavin, prior to the start of the 2017 season. The association remains in regular contact with UEFA and will be seeking further information."

The statement also revealed that Mr Gavin delivered an 'Integrity Workshop' presentation on March 29 to the Athlone Town AFC senior squad and coaches on the prevention of match-fixing and betting, in his role as FAI Integrity Officer.

The news is a devastating blow to the club and adds to the major off-field disturbances that have blighted its recent history.

A statement released by the club says: "Athlone Town AFC are absolutely shocked by the contents of documentation forwarded to us by the FAI and UEFA concerning our recent First Division game against Longford Town.

"The club absolutely abhors match fixing and would never knowingly get involved in such unacceptable activity."

The statement adds that the club will cooperate fully with the investigation and will take action against any wrongdoers if the allegations are proven correct.

The news will not come as a surprise to many Athlone Town supporters, who have been voicing their concerns on social media for months regarding the mystery investor who bought into the club last winter.

It is unknown what punishment will be dished out to the club if the allegations are proven correct, but the news is a bitter blow to all true supporters of Athlone FC.

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