Five Crewe players suspended in Irish Cup suspicious bets probe
Crewe United Football Club has suspended five players over allegations of suspicious betting activity around an Irish Cup tie.
At the beginning of the month, the Belfast Telegraph reported that the the Irish FA was investigating allegations linked to the match between Warrenpoint and Crewe United on Saturday, February 4.
Warrenpoint beat the Mid-Ulster League minnows 5-0 to progress to the quarter-finals of local football's top knock-out competition.
Warrenpoint, who play in the Championship, two divisions above Crewe, were 3-0 up with just over half an hour played.
On Tuesday, the Daily Mirror reported that Crewe United has suspended five players over the matter.
Crewe United have been contacted for a response.
A spokesman told the Mirror: "As a club we acted straight away, as soon as we were notified by the Irish FA we took action.
"We have then given the IFA all of the information that we have and we will continue to give them whatever they need.
"We have asked the IFA to deal with it as quickly as they can but we're in their hands and we're happy to be."
Days after the game it emerged that concerns over unusual betting activity were raised ahead of the tie at Milltown.
In a highly unusual move, the match delegate read a pre-prepared statement to both teams and officials about inappropriate betting.
An Irish FA spokesman said the matter was being fully investigated.
"Following a report from a betting company of suspicious betting activity, the match delegate read a pre-prepared statement to both teams and officials containing advice regarding inappropriate betting," he said.
"The matter is under investigation by the Irish Football Association and a report will be submitted to the Disciplinary Committee."
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on part of Warrenpoint.
A spokesman for Warrenpoint, earlier this month said: "Warrenpoint Town can confirm that a statement about betting was read to both sets of players prior to the game on Saturday.
"We have had no further contact from the Irish FA regarding any investigation.
"The board of Warrenpoint cannot condone any illegal betting.
"We fulfil our duties in educating players and staff about the rules regarding betting."
Warrenpoint had been expected to progress and the tie was a one-sided affair.
Conor McMenamin bundled in the opener and Stephen Murray supplied a fine finish to make it 2-0. Philip Donnelly cracked a shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-0 after 33 minutes.
In the second half Liam McKenna fired home to make it four, before Curtis Dempster completed the rout late on.
Following the game, Crewe United posted on Facebook: "Well done to all the players today against Warrenpoint and the management.
"The 5-0 defeat to Championship leaders was no disgrace and brought to an end a great journey in the Irish Cup for the management and players.
"The Irish Cup is a great competition and we are proud with representing the MUFL at this stage of the competition for the first time ever along with our friends at Dollingstown.
"The league is now without doubt the most competitive Intermediate division in the Country. Thanks to everyone who helped us reach this far and let's push on in the league and Marshall Cup."
The Irish FA has a code of conduct on betting in football.
Players are told they cannot:
• Place any bet on a game involving their club;
• Place any bet on a game in a competition (such as cup competitions or the league itself) in which their club plays. This includes competitions that their club is due to play in but has not yet started and competitions that their club has been knocked out of;
• They are not allowed to place a bet on a game or competition in which they have any influence, either direct or indirect;
• They are not allowed to bet on any under-18 matches, or ask or instruct anyone to place any of the bets above on their behalf.