Two Athlone Town players have been suspended from all football activity after being found to be in breach of FAI rules regarding the manipulation of matches.
In a statement released on Thursday, Irish football’s governing body confirmed that Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan had been found to be in breach of the rules in a League of Ireland First Division match between Athlone and Longford Town on April 29th (the investigation was later widened to focus on two other clashes but there was insufficient evidence on those charges), following an investigation.
The second half of the statement, which outlined the rules broken and the punishment, read:
“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.”
This news is the latest blow in what has been a shambolic year for the historic League of Ireland club, from the mystery surrounding the ownership to the ridiculous managerial situation at the beginning of the year.
The verdict is set to be appealed, though the club have yet to comment officially on the ruling.