Glasgow & West Scotland

Wayne Rooney's father vows to clear name over bet probe

Wayne Rooney Snr and Steve Jennings
Image caption Wayne Rooney Sr and Steve Jennings were arrested by Merseyside Police

The father of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has vowed to clear his name after being arrested in a probe into alleged betting irregularities.

Wayne Rooney Snr, 48, was one of nine men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud over bets placed on a game between Motherwell and Hearts in 2010.

Rooney Jnr's uncle, Richie, 54, and Liverpool-born Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, 26, were also arrested.

Mr Rooney's solicitor said his client "vigorously" denied the charges.

The probe relates to alleged betting irregularities surrounding the Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell and Hearts.

Abusive language

Concerns about the game, on 14 December 2010, were raised by the Association of British Bookmakers after a number of bets from the Liverpool area were placed on there being a sending off.

During the match Jennings, who had already been booked, was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language aimed at referee Stevie O'Reilly late in the 2-1 home defeat.

Mr Jennings has denied any wrongdoing.

Wayne Rooney Snr was bailed on Thursday night after being detained by Merseyside Police at his home in West Derby, Liverpool.

Anthony Barnfather, partner at Pannone solicitors who are representing Mr Rooney Snr, said in a statement: "Mr Rooney vigorously denies all of these allegations.

"We are co-operating fully with the investigation. No further comment will be made at this time."

Richie Rooney was detained at his home in Norris Green, Liverpool, while Mr Jennings was arrested at his Glasgow home and brought to a Merseyside police station for questioning.

Mr Jennings, originally from Kirkby, near Liverpool, has been a Motherwell player since joining from Tranmere in the summer of 2009 and signed his third one-year contract at Fir Park in July.

Men bailed

The club are currently second in the Scottish Premier League.

The other suspects are a 22-year-old from Kirkdale, a 26-year-old from Croxteth, a 29-year-old from Bootle, a 31-year-old from Litherland, a 68-year-old from Fazakerley, and a 36-year-old from Kirkby.

All nine men have been bailed pending further inquiries until January next year.

Merseyside Police said the arrests were the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission into "suspicious betting activity".

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney told England manager Fabio Capello on Thursday that he had no concerns about leading England's attack in Montenegro for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier.

The 25-year-old was informed that his father and uncle had been arrested after he touched down in Podgorica with the rest of the England team.

Speaking at a press conference, Capello said: "I spoke with Wayne five minutes ago. I found him relaxed and calm. There is no problem for the game against Montenegro.

"He is sure a solution will be found to this personal problem in a very short space of time."

England captain John Terry also said he had no doubts Rooney would remain focused on Friday's game.

"It is important for him to go out there and play his football, which he loves doing," said Terry.

"He will always be fully focused on the pitch. That is all that matters to us.

"When you are on the pitch or training pitch, you can switch off from anything in life."

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