Athlone Town fan group calls for board to resign as match-fixing probe continues

FAI interviews at the midlands club continued into a second day on Tuesday.

AN ATHLONE TOWN supporters group has called for the resignation of the club’s board as an investigation into match-fixing allegations at the League of Ireland club continues.

In a statement released on Monday, the Athlone Town Consortium said that in light of the FAI’s investigation into the club’s 3-1 defeat to Longford Town, the current board no longer had the backing of the club’s supporters.

It said that the allegations were the latest in a line of incidents which have compromised the club’s reputation. Others include failure to fulfill a fixture against Waterford United in June 2016, disputes surrounding Athlone Town Stadium Co Ltd, and the postponement of their game against Shelbourne in March due to floodlight failure.

The statement read: “In light of recent events and due to ongoing issues surrounding Athlone Town AFC, we call on the current executive to immediately resign en masse.

“Athlone Town AFC this year celebrates its 130th anniversary. However, [in] the last 12 months there have been a series of incidents which we believe have compromised the good name of the club within the football fraternity.

“We note the decision by the FAI to launch an investigation into a potential breach of FAI rules… In light of this latest negative publicity for Athlone Town AFC, we now once again state our belief that the present committee no longer has the mandate or the support of the football community of Athlone to continue to administer the affairs of the club.”

Interviews continued today with players and officials at the club. Led by Director of Competitions Fran Gavin, the FAI are attempting to piece together allegations of match-fixing based on irregular patterns in international betting markets.

The board of Athlone earlier this week requested the Football Association’s enquiry broaden to involve both Europol and Interpol.

Europol assists EU member states against large-scale criminal and terrorist networks, while Interpol represents the world’s largest interconnected international police organisation.

A statement released on the club’s Facebook page said that the board was “disgusted” and “angry” that games involving the side had been brought into disrepute.

It read: “Athlone Town AFC wants relevant police forces to investigate these serious allegations.

“We want An Garda Síochána, Europol, Interpol and Uefa itself to immediately open parallel investigations to the one being currently conducted by the Football Association of Ireland.

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“It is our strong opinion that no stone should be left unturned in relation to these very damaging claims.”

The Athlone Town Consortium have previously indicated their willingness to administer the affairs of the club if the existing committee resigns.

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Aaron Gallagher

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