Scottish Club Backs Players in Betting Probe

Published December 27, 2010

Scottish Club Backs Players in Betting Probe

European sports betting watchdog investigations alleged deliberate red card.

Scottish Premier League club Motherwell is backing a player under investigation over allegations of match-fixing.

Betting on Red

Steve Jennings was sent off for arguing with the referee during a league game against Hearts on December 14, leading to a Europe-wide alert after several Liverpool-based bookmakers reported taking bets on the card being issued.

However, Motherwell chairman John Boyle stood by the 26-year-old midfielder, who hails from Liverpool, saying that Jennings was "totally distraught" in the dressing room after the match, which his team lost 2-1.

"If that wasn't genuine emotion from him, then he is a better actor than Sir Laurence Olivier," Boyle said, adding, "I would be astonished by any allegations or implications."

Investigation Underway

Investigators from the Gambling Commission and the Scottish Premier League were examining lists of wagers on the games given to them by bookmakers, according to a report in Herald Scotland.

The investigation began after online bookie Bluesquare reported several bets of between £200 and £500 on the red card being awarded, while William Hill and Paddy Power also reported similar bets of smaller amounts.

European gambling watchdog ESSA, which was set up following a German football match-fixing scandal in 2005, has issued an alert for suspect bets. William Hill and Paddy Power joined the association in November, bringing its membership to 15 leading operators.

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