Motherwell caretaker boss Gordon Young has publicly defended Steve Jennings against match fixing allegations.
Last night’s announcement that the SFA had been informed by the Association of British Bookmakers of irregular betting patterns immediately turned the spotlight on to Jennings and referee Stevie O’Reilly.
Whilst Motherwell have defended Jennings there has been no public backing of O’Reilly from the SFA.
Ominously for the referee Stuart Dougal and Kenny Clark seem to have taken a vow of silence on the matter.
Speaking today Motherwell caretaker boss Young said: “The player is exonerated, it’s completely unfounded whatever the authorities want to look at is independent to the club- it’s nothing to do with the player or the club.
“We’re not treating it as a matter of concern- we’re just concentrating on the football side of things. We must exonerate the player first and foremost and concentrate on the match on Saturday.
“I spoke to him (Jennings) last night, I got his side of events and he’s completely flabbergasted by it.”
The amount of money involved seems to be relatively small but it doesn’t take much to alert bookies to unusual patterns.
BlueSquare seem to have been the victims but were offering odds of 10/1 about an ordering off whilst other firms priced that market at 4/1 or 5/1.
O’Reilly is scheduled to be the fourth official at Saturday’s Hamilton-Celtic match and is bound to come under the scrutiny of the television cameras.
The ABB are expecting a speedy resolution to the matter which would be a first for anything involving the SFA as today’s McLeish report highlighted.
ABB senior executive Tom Kenny said: “Based on the information that I have seen, I would be very surprised if the Gambling Commission were not able to make some sort of statement within a week.
“The ABB is not leading the investigation. The way it works is a betting company would advise us of an unusual betting incident.
“We would then notify our other members, who compose 85% of UK betting shops, of that unusual incident. Then we would try to understand if there were other incidents.
“If there were, we report it to the Gambling Commission. They have an integrity department.
“It’s really for the Gambling Commission to determine whether it merits an investigation.”
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