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Bookie cries foul over BBC goal betting 17/5/2008
Sam Jones

Match of the Day is the latest programme to find itself under scrutiny after a bookmaker closed betting on a competition on the BBC's flagship football show after noticing some suspicious punting.

Goal of the Season - in which viewers trying to guess which one of the 10 best goals of the season a panel of Match of the Day presenters will judge the finest - is one of the most popular elements of the show. The winner receives a pair of tickets to a Premiership game.

But Blue Square decided to suspend betting on Tuesday after £10,000 was put on Emmanuel Adebayor's goal against Spurs at White Hart Lane over the course of just four hours.

The company would normally expect to take around £5,000 in a week for a "novelty" bet such as the Goal of the Season. Its suspicions were further aroused when it found that a host of internet accounts had been opened for the purpose of betting on the competition. The Arsenal striker's goal had been 9-2 third favourite to win, but odds plummeted to 1-5 after 400 bets were placed on him on Tuesday.

The BBC said it was taking the concerns very seriously. "We are talking to Blue Square and if there's enough evidence we will investigate," said a spokeswoman.

A Blue Square spokesman said: "We're not saying any of the Match of the Day team are responsible, but the market seems to suggest that the goal of the season result has been leaked somewhere."

He said the number of bets placed on Adebayor was comparable to the amount taken on the Champions League final.

"It was crazy. Even when we cut his odds to 1-5, people were still betting on him. In our experience, punters only bet like that when they know the result," he told the Evening Standard.