Main Menu
Top of Page
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email

Welcome to the News desk.

Championship game subject of betting investigation 17/10/2008
Matt Scott

The Football Association will enforce the legal requirement for bookmakers to assist in its match-fixing inquiries after launching a probe into allegations of a betting sting at Derby County's recent 2-1 win over Norwich City in the Championship.

Bookmakers noted unusual betting patterns during the match at Carrow Road on October 4. Punters in the far east are believed to have placed a flood of money during half-time, although industry observers report that the betting patterns indicated that the punters thought Norwich would win.

Bookmakers who are known to have offered their assistance to investigators and the two clubs involved say they have not yet been contacted by the FA but its chairman, David Triesman, said last night that the inquiry would be "thorough".

"It will be days before people begin to go through all the information that is needed to get a sense of what may or may not have happened so it is too early to talk about a timescale," said Lord Triesman. "My insistence is that it's thorough."

The Gambling Act makes provision for all sports governing bodies to demand the assistance of British-based bookmakers when investigating threats to their competitions' integrity. The FA will call on that legislation to widen its inquiries. But the investigation will be a stiff test of the FA's anti-corruption processes because the markets were made by betting operators in the far east. It is unclear whether Soho Square's links with the global gambling industry are as robust as those in the UK.

Derby's manager, Paul Jewell, insists his club have no case to answer. "We've not heard from the FA and we don't expect to either," he said. "If it needs investigating they'll investigate it but there's certainly nothing for us to hide.

"It's comical. I'd like to say I've been paid out so it doesn't really matter but it's something that as far as I'm aware is nonsense. It's just such a big surprise that Derby went down to 10 men and won a game."

Jewell made light of a situation he considered "laughable if [the allegation] wasn't so serious", self-deprecatingly alluding to his club's 51-week winless sequence. Since the win over Sheffield United in mid-September that ended that dismal run, his team have strung together five games without defeat. The win over Norwich a fortnight ago made it 12 points from a possible 18.

During that match Roy Carroll, Derby's goalkeeper, was sent off five minutes after half-time and Sammy Clingan converted the resulting penalty to equalise. But Derby secured the win five minutes from time, after a defensive mix-up involving Norwich's goalkeeper and centre-half allowed Nathan Ellington to score from close range.

The Norwich North MP, Ian Gibson, who attended the Championship match, initially drew attention to the FA's investigations by tabling a parliamentary question to the culture secretary demanding swift action in the inquiry.

However, even Gibson reflected that the circumstances of the game were not immediately considered anything other than the normal course of a football match. "No one who was there thought it suspicious," he said.

The Norwich chief executive, Neil Doncaster, said his club had yet to be contacted by the FA but he was not pleased with how the matter was raised. "It is certainly slightly disappointing that the MPs concerned have talked to the media before picking up the phone and talking to us."

Jewell was also not amused by the intervention of a parliamentarian. "MPs are having a tough time at the minute because the country's struggling," he said. "Maybe they're trying to deflect the blame."
Click Here