Athlone Town investigated by Uefa and FAI over match-fixing claims

Uefa and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) are investigating suspected match-fixing after claims of irregular betting involving second-tier club Athlone Town.

The case was sparked by Athlone 3-1's defeat at Longford Town on Saturday.

Now the FAI has announced it is looking at two other Athlone matches.

A Uefa report published by the Irish Times claims "clear evidence" the Longford result "was influenced" for the gain of "corrupt profits".

Data collated by Sportradar, which monitors suspicious betting patterns, was passed to Uefa, European football's governing body, after the game.

The FAI said on Wednesday that it had written to both Athlone Town and Longford Town.

It also said it will interview Athlone's players, coaches and officials from Monday, and had passed information from Uefa's report on to police.

On Friday, it said two other games would be investigated after it received confidential tip-offs.

'A wholly suspicious' confidence

Uefa's report highlights betting activity in Saturday's match just before half-time and just before full-time as being particularly suspicious.

"Entering the final 15 minutes of the first half at 1-0, betters exhibited a wholly suspicious confidence in at least one further goal being scored prior to half-time," it said.

"Odds were failing to increase against all logical expectations, despite the clear time constraints on this outcome occurring."

Longford increased their lead to 2-0 in the 40th minute, and Athlone scored to make it 2-1 three minutes later.

Odds on a fourth goal being scored also failed to lengthen as full-time approached, before Longford netted in the 93rd-minute, according to the report.

"Such was the overwhelming strength of this entirely one-sided confidence that odds as late as the 89th minute implied it was more likely than not that at least one further goal would be scored," the report added.

"The betting evidence ultimately indicates prior knowledge of Athlone Town suffering a minimum two-goal defeat, in a match which contained at least two first-half goals, and at least four goals in total."

Club will 'fully co-operate' with investigation

Athlone Town released a statement in which they strongly denied being involved in match-fixing.

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

"The club will be fully co-operating with those conducting the investigation, and look forward to meeting with FAI officials next week.

"Should any of the allegations be upheld, the club will take action against any wrongdoers."

Uefa says it has a dedicated integrity division which tackles corruption and match-fixing.

"We are completely committed to eradicating match-fixing, a disease that attacks football's very core," it said.

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