Fans cashed in on team's misfortune

Lesley Richardson,Press Association
Tuesday 24 February 2009 10:01
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Supporters of a financially-troubled football team cashed in when their squad went on strike by betting more than £1 million on their youth team's defeat.

Weymouth Football Club's supporters profited from one of the biggest betting coups in non-league football when the regular team walked out because there was no medical insurance for last Saturday's game.

The squad has not been paid all year because of the club's debts.

But instead of dreading the prospect of defeat, punters cashed in on huge bets that Weymouth would lose against Rushden and Diamonds.

Bookmakers were forced to cut odds before suspending betting entirely.

The fans were not disappointed as the Weymouth teenage team were thrashed 9-0 but were still given a standing ovation at the end of the match.

A Coral spokesman said: "Normally £30,000 to £40,000 would be paid out on a match like this across the whole industry.

"But we paid out in the region of £100,000 and we are 20 per cent of the industry.

"It was an exceptional amount of money for a lower league game."

Totesport was one of the first to suspend betting on Saturday morning after "smelling a rat".

Spokesman George Primarolo said: "The £1 million figure is about right, it has been taken off the bookies, but there's nothing untoward or suspicious about it.

"People have got wind of the team news before the bookies have.

"This sort of thing happens in the lower leagues from time to time.

"It's different to the Premier League because we know everything that's happening, everything is so well documented.

"The lower down the league you get, the more the fans know."

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