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Dubliner Stephen Dawson expresses 'huge relief' after spot-fixing charges against him dropped

“It’s been the worst nine months of my life.”

Dawson was at Barnsley when the charges were brought against him.
Dawson was at Barnsley when the charges were brought against him.
Image: David Davies

STEPHEN DAWSON HAS described how he and his family have been to ‘hell and back’ after spot-fixing charges against the former Republic of Ireland U21 international were dropped by the National Crime Agency last week.

Dawson was arrested last April on suspicion of being involved in a major scam that involved players influencing certain aspects of the game in return for cash. The 29-year-old was one of 13 Football League players embroiled in the case.

Preston’s Irish duo Keith Keane and Graham Cummins were also under investigation but the Crown Prosecution Service announced on Thursday the players have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Dawson, who is currently at League One outfit Rochdale, maintained his innocence throughout the nine month investigation and has expressed his ‘huge relief’ after learning no further action is to be taken.

“Since my arrest on April 2nd 2014, I have always maintained my innocence and remain shocked at the allegations made against me,” he said in a statement released on the club’s website.

“They have been the worst nine months of my life – my family and I have been to hell and back. The embarrassment this has caused, and the stress it has put on myself and those closest to me, is something I will never forget.”

The inquiry arose after an undercover investigation by Mazher Mahmood in the Sun on Sunday newspaper. In the front page sting, headlined “Ex-Prem stars in Match Fix Probe”, the 13 players – including DJ Campbell – were accused of agreeing to pick up yellow cards in exchange for significant sums of cash.

“My reputation and integrity were seriously tarnished. After 10 years in football and having played over 400 games, the after effects of this whole situation had left me at rock bottom and ready to quit the game that I love,” Dawson continued.

The Dubliner began his professional career with Leicester City before moving onto Mansfield Town where he spent three seasons. He’s made 22 appearances for Rochdale this term with the club currently lying in the play-off berths.

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Ryan Bailey

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