Athlone Town players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan have both been banned from football for 12 months.
Goalkeeper Labuts, who is Latvian, and midfielder Sfrijan, who is Romanian, were found to be in breach of rules during League of Ireland First Division game against Longford Town earlier this year.
An FAI statement on the matter reads:
The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that an Independent Disciplinary Committee has found two Athlone Town AFC players to be in breach of FAI rules.
On May 3, an investigation was launched following a UEFA Betting Fraud Detection System report demonstrated ‘clear and overwhelming betting evidence that the course or result of’ Athlone Town’s game against Longford Town in the SSE Airtricity League First Division on April 29 ‘was unduly influenced with a view to gaining corrupt betting profits’.
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.
Upon receipt of the UEFA BFDS report, 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.
The game, which finished 3-1 in favour of Longford Town, was reported to have had approximately €400,000 wagered on it in the Asian betting markets.