Irish FA dish out massive match-betting bans to Crewe United players
Five players from a Mid-Ulster League club have been banned for over a year by the Irish FA following an investigation into match fixing.
The Crewe United players were charged with bringing the game into disrepute for bets placed on their Irish Cup tie against Warrenpoint Town on 4 February.
Attempts were made to bet large sums on more than four goals being scored in the game, which Crewe lost 5-0.
The players are suspended from all affiliated football until 31 May 2018.
The IFA's Disciplinary Committee also imposed fines of £400 on each player, whose names have not been released.
Prior to Wednesday night's hearing, all five players admitted to a breach of rules but claimed they had acted independently in placing bets.
However, committee members "were not convinced" this was the case, according to an IFA statement.
"The committee wishes to express its concern at the negative impact betting on games can have on the game and urges all clubs, officials and players to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations in relation to football."
Reaching the sixth round of the Irish Cup was seen as a significant achievement for the Crewe United club, which is located in Glenavy near Lisburn.
The team, managed by former Northern Ireland international Peter Kennedy, won five matches to get to the last 16 stage of Northern Ireland's premier cup event.
The club co-operated fully in the investigation and at no point was accused of any wrongdoing.
In a statement the club said it was "deeply disappointed to be in the position of dealing with this matter, however, we hope that this case will help all players to understand their responsibilities".
Crewe added: "It has also been acknowledged that player education around the subject of betting, and how information is disseminated to [players] by all clubs and the governing body could be improved.
"As a club we hope action is taken by the IFA in this regard and would support any initiatives to assist players in their awareness of such matters."
There is no suggestion that anyone from Warrenpoint was involved in any wrongdoing.