Phones and bank account details requested in Athlone AFC probe

Members of Athlone Town playing squad have been requested to hand over their phones and bank account information to investigators from the FAI, according to reports.

FAI competitions director and integrity officer, Fran Gavin, travelled to Athlone on Monday to begin two days of interviews with players, coaches, and officials belonging to the club.

The investigation is centred on irregular betting patterns associated with Athlone’s 3-1 defeat to Longford Town two weeks ago, while it is believed the FAI are also looking into two other games from earlier in the season.

News broke last Wednesday that the FAI would be opening an investigation into the Longford game, after receiving a report from UEFA regarding suspicious betting patterns.

A statement from the FAI revealed that the organisation had been monitoring the club since before the the start of the 2017 season.

The statement also revealed that Mr Gavin delivered an ‘integrity workshop’ presentation on March 29 to the Athlone Town senior squad and coaches on the prevention of match-fixing and betting, in his role as FAI integrity officer.

In response to this statement, the board of Athlone Town issued a release which said they abhor match-fixing and would never knowingly get involved in such activity.

In a further statement issued on Sunday, May 7, the board called for Garda, Europol, Interpol, and UEFA investigations into the allegations. They further stated that if any deception took place in relation to the club’s foreign investors, the FAI must also accept part of the responsibility.

“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,” it reads.

While stating that the board believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty, they say they will not be found wanting with regard to sanctions they will impose if the allegations are proven correct.

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

The FAI say they will announce the next step of their investigation by the end of the week.

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