NEWPORT County AFC have rejected claims that one of their matches is part of the Europe-wide investigation into match-fixing in football.
Sky Sports News reported this week that the Blue Square Bet Premier clash between Tamworth and County in Tamworth in January 2011 is one of the 380 matches across the continent under investigation as part of the Europol probe into match-fixing by a criminal network based in Asia.
As reported by the Argus at the time, the match was the subject of a bookmakers’ investigation into suspicious betting patterns.
But new County chief executive Dave Boddy said the club had not been contacted by Europol and, as far as they are concerned, the matter ended in January 2011.
Various bookmakers reported that they saw unusual amounts of money placed on the match to end as a draw, as well as bets on correct scorelines of 3-3.
The game ended with Tamworth winning 3-2 thanks to a penalty in injury time, but bookmakers still launched an investigation.
Even when bets are lost, bookmakers have an agreement with the Football Association to report any unusual betting patterns so that the authorities can investigate whether any players have been involved in any wagering.
In this case there is no suggestion that players or officials of Tamworth or County placed bets on the game.
By 5pm on the night of the match William Hill had instructed all betting shops in the Midlands to stop taking bets on the game.
The following morning shop managers in the Birmingham area were asked to send details to their head office of all correct score bets placed on the game of more than £10.
It is understood that other major bookmaking chains also suspended betting on the match after seeing large amounts of money bet on the game, which would normally only attract wagering in small amounts from shops in Tamworth and Newport.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said at the time: “We noticed an unusual betting pattern pre-match, with a majority of the bets being asked for being placed on Tamworth to lead at half time, and the game to end in a draw, often placed together with wagers for a 3-3 or 4-4 correct score outcome.”
The penalty that gave Tamworth a 3-2 win was scored in the 93rd minute by Alex Rodman to complete his hat-trick.
A total of seven minutes added time was played but County, who were reduced to nine men after red cards for Gary Warren and Jamie Collins, could not find an equalizer.
Boddy, who was assistant general manager at the Football Conference at the time of the match, said yesterday: “The club is aware that there was an investigation into suspicious betting patterns relating to the Tamworth v Newport County fixture in January 2011.
“There was no suggestion of match-fixing and no further action was taken.
“As far as the club is aware the matter died in January 2011.
“This sort of thing happens quite frequently where suspicious betting patterns are reported and each incidence has to be looked at by the authorities but on most occasions no action is taken.”
County host Tamworth in the Conference at Rodney Parade this Saturday.
- Newport County’s home game against Kidd-erminster Harriers has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 19, KO 7.45.