Betting Investigation Underway

The FAI confirmed last night that it has received a request from Cobh Ramblers to investigate unusual betting patterns on the SSE Airtricity First Division game against Limerick on Saturday.

The process now is that they will await a report from UEFA who monitor betting patterns on all games across Europe and work with intelligence gleaned from the major regulated betting companies.

This is the second game in a month involving Limerick where betting patterns are being scrutinised.

In the first incident against Shelbourne, the odds on the home side beating Limerick tumbled dramatically ahead of a 2-0 win.

On Saturday it was the opposite with Limerick’s odds falling from 9/4 to 4/9 ahead of a 3-2 win.

Bookmakers betting patterns monitoring software has grown very sophisticated in recent years and allows them to flag where unexpected patterns are emerging before potentially alerting authorities.

Paddy Power and Bet 365, two of the largest betting companies suspended betting on the game, amid reports of significant market moves on Asian betting markets.

These markets are often seen as the main driver of betting exchange activity, where programmes have been devised to track market moves and use them to create potential arbitrage opportunities.

Like in any financial trading market, rumour and speculation can sometimes spiral quickly, leading to significant moves that can be based on sentiment rather than actual hard cash.

While regulated betting organisations here are willing to share information through memoranda of understanding, that is not necessarily the case with overseas bookmakers where the rumours often start.

The SSE Airtricity League first division has been subject to a number of rumours in recent seasons.

A full investigation and sanctions arose from a game involving Athlone Town last season, though the FAI has not made any comment on the latest suggestions of potentially damaging activity.

“We have received a UEFA report on the Shelbourne v Limerick fixture in April and are awaiting their report on the Cobh v Limerick game last Saturday,” said FAI Competitions Director Fran Gavin.

“We have received correspondence from the Cobh Ramblers Board in relation to that match. The FAI remains committed to a zero tolerance stance on match fixing.”

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