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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

Dundalk's Conor Clifford handed six-month worldwide ban for 'betting offences'

All 112 offences took place in the UK.

Image: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DUNDALK MIDFIELDER CONOR CLIFFORD has been handed a six-month worldwide ban from football for ‘betting offences’.

The FAI confirmed the news in a statement released this evening.

The 26-year-old’s suspension began on 3 October and will run until 2 April next year.

The offences were committed in the UK and subsequently investigated by the Football Association, who charged Clifford with 112 breaches of the FA’s E8 rule, which relates to betting.

Clifford, who admitted the charge, was also fined £600 by the governing body.

Fifa informed the FAI of the ruling earlier today.

The Dublin native was captain of the Chelsea FA Youth Cup-winning team in 2010 but never made a first-team appearance.

After a litany of loan deals, he finally left Stamford Bridge in 2013. He spent a very short time at Leicester before two years at Southend. In 2015, he dropped to the Conference and signed for Boreham Wood before returning to Ireland and joining Dundalk in January.

That month, in an interview with The42, he described his time in non-league football as a mistake.

It was kind of a stupid decision (to join). It was the lowest part of my football career, I’d say. Just the last year or two have been difficult. Playing in the Conference was not where I wanted to be. A few things were getting on top of me.”

Dundalk have released their own statement, revealing Clifford placed the bets during an ‘unhappy period’ of his career, while they also say there’s ‘no suggestion’ Clifford has committed any gambling offences since arriving at the club.

“We have been informed by the English Football Association that, having pleaded guilty to charges of gambling on football matches during his time as a player under their jurisdiction, Conor Clifford has been banned from playing in England for six months with immediate effect.

This ban has been extended by FIFA to cover all football activity worldwide.

The charges all refer to a time before Conor signed for Dundalk Football Club and there is no suggestion at all that he continued to place bets after joining the club.

Since we were made aware of this matter we have co-operated fully with the Football Association in their investigation.

These events took place during an unhappy period of Conor’s time in England. The club have assisted Conor throughout this process and will continue to provide appropriate support.

Dundalk Football Club fully supports efforts to maintain the integrity of the sport to ensure that players and officials do not place bets on any matches.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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