Two Athlone Town players given year-long bans from football

Two Athlone Town players have been banned from all football-related activities for 12 months after an FAI investigation into match-fixing, writes Stephen Barry.

Lativan goalkeeper Igors Labuts and Romanian defender Dragos Sfrijan were found to have breached three FAI rules by an Independent Disciplinary Committee.

    They were:

  • Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute;
  • Rule 105: Manipulating Matches; and
  • Rule 106: Betting / Gambling.

Igors Labuts. Photo: Eddie O’Hare

The investigation concentrated solely on Athlone’s 3-1 defeat to Longford Town on April 29, after insufficient evidence was found by investigators examining two other games that were flagged.

A UEFA Betting Fraud Detection System report demonstrated “clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of this match was unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits”.

It was reported that around €400,000 was staked on the game, largely in Asian betting markets.

A last-minute goal by Longford’s Enda Curran secured his hat-trick and a 3-1 win in the match.