The Garda Anti-Bribery & Corruption Unit along with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau carried out a mission this week, arresting ten men in connection with match-fixing involving the League of Ireland. The investigation into the matter centers on the Irish senior men’s soccer league.
Details of the Operation
Officials completed Operation Brookweed in Limerick and Dublin, arresting 10 men in the process. The men ranged in age from early 20s to 60s. The arrests took place within residences connected to the investigation.
Officials stated that staff in Cork City and Limerick divisions assisted in the arrests. Investigators took the men in based on suspicion that they broke the Conspiracy to Defraud contrary to Common Law measure. All the men are currently being held based on the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
The operation is connected to an investigation that started years ago within the Anti-Bribery & Corruption Unit of 2019. Reports surfaced at the time that match-fixing was occurring within the Football Association of Ireland and the Union of European Football Associations.
Since that time, officials have continued the investigation, reviewing bank accounts and phone records. IT records were also consulted. The reports indicated that unusual results took place regarding matches as well as unusual betting patterns.
It is important to note that match-fixing not only affects the integrity of the game as a whole but in this case, the League of Ireland table. Match-fixing can affect which clubs qualify for European competitions, which has a major effect on how the leagues play out. It is a wider impact than just on the small group of people involved in the match-fixing effort.
Response to the Arrests
The Football Association of Ireland has responded to the arrests and the alleged match-fixing. The Association says it is committed to zero tolerance when it comes to match-fixing. The Association will make no further comment on the matter since it is a legal issue now.
Detective Superintendent Catharina Gunne of the GNECB, stated that match-fixing and corruption are a threat to sports at all levels. Such actions undermine the confidence of the public that the sports are fair. Match-fixing allows criminal organizations to infiltrate a sport and use it to launder criminal proceeds or earn illicit gains.
Officials are now requesting anyone with information on the matter to come forward. There are reporting lines where the public can remain anonymous and assist police in finding anyone connected to match-fixing activity.