Four players banned after betting on Accrington match
Disciplinary chiefs have expressed "serious concerns" that a Football League match may have been fixed after four players were banned for between five months and a year for betting on the outcome.
The four players have been suspended and fined after betting on the outcome of the League Two match between Accrington and Bury on May 3 2008 - three of the players were with Stanley at the time and the other at Bury, who won the game 2-0.
Jay Harris has been banned for a year and fined a total of £5,500 by an independent FA regulatory commission, David Mannix has been given a 10-month ban and fined £4,000, and Robert Williams suspended for eight months and fined £3,500. Andrew Mangan, who was then a Bury player, has been banned for five months and fined £2,000 for betting on his team to win.
Nicholas Stewart QC, chairman of the regulatory commission, said in a statement: "The regulatory commission have serious concerns that the outcome of the match may have been fixed although none of the players were charged with these offences."
The case against Accrington skipper Peter Cavanagh, who was also charged, will be heard at a later date. Both he and Harris played in the match.
The four Accrington players were charged with betting thousands of pounds on their team to lose: Mannix was alleged by the FA to have bet approximately £4,000; Harris £2,000; Williams £1,000; and Cavanagh on a £5 accumulator.
Mangan was charged with staking £3,500 on his side to win, while Harris' total fine includes £500 for betting on at least one other match after he had moved to Chester City.
The regulatory commission chairman added: "The suspensions and fines are imposed because the FA rules restricting betting by players (and others) on matches or competitions in which they are involved are vital to ensure public confidence in the integrity of football and the absolute straightness of all football matches.
"These players were all in blatant breach of the rules. Three of the players, (Mannix, Harris and Williams) were Accrington players at the time and actually bet on the opposing team, Bury, to win. Actions which would shock any fair minded football fan.
"Mr Harris even played for Accrington in that match.
"Mr Mangan did at least bet on his own club to win but was nevertheless in serious breach of this important rule.
"The betting offence committed against Mr Harris when he was a Chester City player merits a less severe penalty but was a clear breach of The FA rule E8(a) committed after he had already been interviewed and advised of likely charges in relation to the Accrington v Bury matter under the same rule."
The FA were alerted after bookmakers in the north-west reported unusual betting patterns in the lead-up to the match with unusually high amounts being staked in particular areas of the country.
A lengthy investigation uncovered enough evidence to bring the charges but FA sources believed they only scratched the surface in terms of the amount of money actually bet.
One bookmaker, Betfair, took £281,000 on Accrington Stanley to lose - some 14 times more than they would normally expect. William Hill suspended betting when large stakes were still being wagered even when the odds had been cut to 10/11 on a Bury win.
Most matches at a similar level on the same weekend saw a total of around £20,000 being staked.
The FA changed the referee and assistants at the last minute to ensure no shadow of suspicion would affect them.
Cavanagh and Mannix are former Liverpool trainees, while Harris was a trainee at Everton. Cavanagh and Williams were still registered with Accrington last season while Mannix was at Chester. Mangan moved from Bury to Blue Square Premier side Forest Green.
Under FA rules, players, managers or coaching staff are prohibited from betting on the result or progress of any match or competition in which they are participating or have any direct or indirect influence over.
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
The Calvin report: Stirring Champions League final shows how far English game must advance
Borussia Dortmund 1 Bayern Munich 2 match report: Arjen Robben proves Mr Reliant for for Bayern
French Open: Poker-loving Rafael Nadal seeks eight of a kind at Roland Garros
England's versatile quartet to replace old rearguard
Boxing: Revenge for Carl Froch with unanimous decision over Mikkel Kessler
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.