After a game on Saturday, February 4 between Warrenpoint and Crewe United raised suspicions, the Irish Football Association has launched an official investigation by the Disciplinary Committee on possible violations of the betting code of conduct by some players on the Crewe United team.
Warrenpoint won the game, 5-0, and with the victory, progressed into the quarter-finals of the competition. They are two divisions above the Crewe Team, and within a half-hour of the initial kick were up 3-0. Conor McMenamin, Stephen Murray, Phillip Donnelly, Liam McKenna and Curtis Dempster all scored goals to complete their victory over Crewe United.
Crewe United has now suspended five players on suspicions that they were involved in the illegal betting process. There are several rules that players on any Irish FA team must follow in regards to betting, both for themselves and for anyone they would ask to make a bet on their behalf.
First of all, they cannot place any bet on any game that their club is involved in. Secondly, they cannot place bets on competitions such as Cup games or the league where their club is going to be playing. That includes competitions which have not yet started, where they have not yet played a game, as well as ones where their team has been knocked out of the running. Also, they are banned from placing bets on any game where their team may have any influence at all, whether direct or indirect and under-18 matches.
The Crewe United team is cooperating fully with officials as they continue to investigate the matter. They are providing support and information to the investigators in order to deal with the potential illegal bets as soon as possible.
A betting company had noticed that there were very unusual betting processes going on before the game and tipped off the FA. That is what sparked the allegations, and the subsequent investigation and suspension. Five Crewe United players are suspended during the investigation but no Warrenpoint players have been accused of wrongdoing.
Before the game, the FA took the unusual step of reading a pre-prepared statement to both Crewe United and Warrenpoint players before the game started, and warned them about the rules and consequences of illegally betting on a football game. Shortly after the game, Warrenpoint issued a statement confirming that the teams had been read a reminder about the betting code of conduct before the game began and affirming their own commitment to obeying the rules.
The victory by Warrenpoint had been widely anticipated and came as no great surprise. Following the match, Crewe United put out a fairly standard statement, praising their players for the way they played during the season and looking forward to the next one.
The Irish Football Association is conducting a full investigation into the illegal betting allegations, and the Disciplinary Committee is expected to deliver their report once they have finished looking into all of the evidence.