The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has settled High Court proceedings brought by two former Athlone Town football players suspended by the FAI for match-fixing. The proceedings concerned an appeal by the players Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan against a 12 month suspension imposed by the FAI Independent Disciplinary Committee (Disciplinary Committee).
The suspension arose from an FAI investigation into irregular betting patterns in a SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Athlone Town and Longford Town on 29 April 2017. The irregular betting patterns related to bets placed on the final goal of the match, which was conceded by Athlone Town in the 89th minute. Evidence was given to the Disciplinary Committee that the two players, Mr Labuts, a Latvian goal-keeper, and Mr Sfrijan, a Romanian midfielder, were at fault for the final goal. The Disciplinary Committee subsequently banned the players from all football-related activities for 12 months. Mr Sfrijan and Mr Labuts appealed the Disciplinary Committee's decision.
In circumstances where the FAI allegedly sought to introduce new evidence (not put before the original Disciplinary Committee) to the appeal, the two football players applied for an interim injunction in the High Court on grounds that the introduction of such evidence would breach their right to fair procedures. An interim injunction was granted on 13 December 2017 temporarily preventing the appeal from going ahead.
The hearing of the application to continue the injunction pending full trial was due to take place on 11 April however the Court was informed that the High Court proceedings had been settled. The players' appeal against their 12 month suspension may now proceed.