Belfast Telegraph

Irish League should be on alert over betting fraud

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Frank Brownlow

Alarm bells should be ringing for Irish League football. Betting was suspended on two recent games in Scotland's lower leagues, a level of football on a par with the local game here.

Scottish football chiefs already have anecdotal evidence of suspicious activity.

Scottish FA Chief Executive Stewart Regan said: "What we are seeing is evidence of activity in the stands where individuals are commentating on matches into laptops on everything from the Lowland League to Under 17 games."

That is, to say, on matches that barely attract one man and his dog.

There have also been accusations of "courtsiding" at the Australian Open tennis, taking place in Melbourne.

A man is alleged to have used an electronic device stitched into his shorts to transmit scores secretly from courtside to help gambling associates beat delays in TV coverage. The man denies the accusation.

In GAA, the game's rulers have said this week that a set of guidelines on gambling are about to be issued to players and clubs.

But back to the humble Scottish Second Division – the country's fourth tier – where betting patterns on two recent games aroused suspicions.

There is no evidence the games were fixed, but it is a wake-up call for the Irish League where the majority of clubs operate at the same part-time professional level.

Match-fixing is potentially the greatest scourge sport has ever had to deal with.

And the more modest levels – with lower wages and less regulation – are most at risk of corruption.

Belfast Telegraph

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