Limavady United betting probe trio protest innocence
Three Limavady United players subject to an Irish FA investigation, after allegations of irregular betting activity in the Belfast Telegraph Championship have protested their innocence.
The IFA launched an investigation following information provided to them by an online bookmakers after Limavady's 2-0 defeat to Dergview in Championship One a fortnight ago.
The club have suspended three players, understood to be Richard Close, Laurence McCormick and Trevor Parkhill, pending the investigation.
Once the governing body complete their inquest it is possible they may hand over the details of the case to the PSNI.
A delegation from the club will meet the IFA tonight as part of the investigation, which could have serious repercussions for the players involved.
The IFA's betting rules state: "You are not allowed to place any bet on a game involving your club."
Players are also prohibited from gambling on other fixtures from the league they play in.
Bookmakers Paddy Power, who are yet to pay out on Dergview's victory, said: "The company are still looking in to the event in question."
Ahead of tonight's meeting the players have been speaking about the allegations with two of them claiming that they have done nothing wrong and the third insisting that he was unaware of breaking any rules.
Dergview's 2-0 victory over Limavady on March 16 was no surprise; the Dergs are currently above Limavady in the division while United had three players suspended and injury problems.
Close is also confident that he is in the clear saying that he was only under investigation because bets were placed on the Dergview game on a computer he had previously used. He inisisted that the bet was placed on the family computer by his brother through his brother's account.
The other player, Parkhill, admitted that he had placed a bet using his own account though he declared it was made on behalf of his father.
Parkhill added in the local paper that he will now 'hold his hands up' though stated he was not aware he was breaking any rules at the time.
When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph, Limavady manager Adrian McLaughlin said: "The club have asked me not to say too much, but what I would say is that the three players are innocent until proven guilty, and I'll be supporting them until someone proves otherwise.
"We've held our internal investigation and we will be passing on our findings on to the IFA on Friday. As the manager, I just want to concentrate on football without this hanging over us so I hope it's cleared up as soon as possible."
Dergview's 2-0 victory was far from a surprise. The Dergs are currently above Limavady in the division while United had three players suspended for the fixture and another three players unavailable due to injury.
McLaughlin was forced to start two youth team players, whilst also naming an inexperienced bench.
With the suspended trio unavailable ahead of tomorrow's clash with in form Carrick Rangers at Taylor's Avenue, McLaughlin must field another weakened side, including schoolboy goalkeeper Conor Brady.
The Roesiders currently sit in eighth place, nine points above the relegation zone.