Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Another Catholic Scandal

Apparently it's not just Italy that has problems with teams being less than fully committed towards the end of a season. Any Catholic country that starts with an "I" seems to suffer from it.

The BBC reports today that:

Bookmakers in mid-Ulster have been on the alert after spotting an irregular pattern developing in some end-of-season Irish League matches.

Local bookmakers have decided to suspend betting on some games after punters placed unusually high bets.

Particularly high betting was placed on the outcome of a recent Distillery verses Glenavon match which the unfancied Distillery won 3-1.

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer said the club has launched an internal inquiry.

A spokesperson for bookmaker Toals said: "This is the third time in three months that a similar thing has occurred involving Glenavon."

Adrian Eastwood of McLeans, said suspicions were aroused by people who normally did not frequent an office wanting to have a single bet of a few hundred pounds on a football team.

Modest bet

"They don't normally come in ... but they have got some information or they have heard something about the team, you just don't know.

"Most people who have a bet on the football like to pick three or four teams and do a modest bet, an accumulator, and in big feature matches people would have a few hundred quid on a team, Manchester United in the FA Cup (for example), but in an Irish League match, it just doesn't happen unless there is something strange happening.

"When matches are competitive, there won't be a problem. At the end of the season certainly when matches are less competitive, then bookmakers are wary. Usually that is reflected in the prices, the prices wouldn't be just as generous."

The suspension on betting, however, does not necessarily mean any offence has been committed.

Punters are often aware there is less at stake at the end of the season, with teams often blooding young players or have experienced players exhausted or injured.

In April last year, leading bookmaker Paddy Power suspended betting on all late-season Irish League games except those involving Linfield and Glentoran.

Paddy Power said at the time there had been an unusually high number of bets placed on teams which had no chance of winning the league title.

"This isn't necessarily something sinister," said the bookmaker.

"People on the ground might know that a key player is or isn't playing or something as simple as that."
My son has finally departed, delayed a couple of days by the volcanic eruption, which was good for me as it gave me a couple of extra unplanned days with him. Unfortunately not enough time for me to erase my backgammon or pool tournament deficits, (in fact, they got worse), but at least my lead in darts was extended.

So it's back to work with a vengeance on the exchanges. April has once again been a poor month for me, which hasn't helped at all, but the last few days have seen the tide turn a little, although trading has been limited.

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