Tue, 06 Jun 2023

LIMERICK, Ireland: Current and former soccer players were among ten suspects arrested this week in Limerick in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged League of Ireland match-fixing.

The ten suspects, were arrested during early morning raids and are being held "on suspicion of the offence of Conspiracy to Defraud contrary to Common Law", the Gardai said.

Officials said the suspects are being "detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at various stations in the Southern Region and Dublin Metropolitan Region." The arrests come as part of 'Operation Brookweed', a "day of action in relation to match-fixing in the League of Ireland".

The Garda Anti-Bribery and Corruption Unit of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is in charge of the investigation.

Officials said the investigation began in 2019 after receiving information from football's European governing body Uefa about the FAI.

"A lot of them are players, a significant number, and, as a result of a complaint Gardai got (in 2019) about match results and betting patterns, that investigation has been tipping away in the background and lots of work has been going on and it's now culminated in ten arrests this morning," said a source, as reported by the Irish Examiner.

Sources further said the investigation included the Gardai investigating bank accounts, phone records and IT records of the suspects.

"Results of games effect placings in the League of Ireland table and it effects what clubs qualify for European competitions, so the ramifications are much bigger than a small group of people and what they are trying to do themselves - there is a much wider impact," officials said.

Meanwhile, a Gardai spokesman stated, "As part of the planned operation in the Southern Region and Dublin Metropolitan Regions, ten males have been arrested and a number of residential properties have been searched. The operation has been supported by resources attached to the Limerick and Cork City Divisions.

"Match-fixing and corruption is a threat to all sports at all levels and undermines public confidence in the fairness of sport. It can allow organised crime to infiltrate sport in order to use it to make illicit gains or launder proceeds of crime," said Detective Superintendent Catharina Gunne, GNECB.

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