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Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 11:20 UK

FA investigates 'suspicious' game

Blue Square Premier

Suspicious betting patterns ahead of Sunday's game between Grays and Forest Green are being investigated by the Football Association.

Two leading bookmakers suspended betting on the match after a large number of wagers were placed on Grays to win after trailing 1-0 at half-time.

Grays eventually won the Blue Square Premier match 2-1.

An FA spokesman said on Monday: "We take these matters very seriously and we will investigate."

Grays scored twice in only 50 second-half seconds to come from behind and defeat Forest Green in the game in the Blue Square Premier, the division from which teams are promoted to the Football League.

Alan Alger, spokesman for bookmakers Blue Square who also sponsor the division, said at the weekend: "We closed the market on Saturday. It looked extremely dodgy. It's always a big price for a team to be losing at half-time and to win at full-time."

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "When you have a meaningless end-of-season match you are not expecting to take much money and all of a sudden you are being offered a large number of bets for one outcome and some relatively substantial bets.

"The biggest sum placed was a three-figure bet so we suspended betting on Saturday afternoon. Interestingly, another bookmaker unbeknown to us did the same thing which suggests this not a freak occurrence."

Two months ago there was increased activity at bookmakers when news spread among fans that another Blue Square Premier side, Weymouth, would be forced to field a younger than usual team against Rushden and Diamonds.

Unable to provide a reason for the betting behaviour involving Grays, Sharpe added: "If you can see an explanation you adjust the odds but if can't then you have to pull the plug on the game and report it to the Gambling Commission, which is the action we took."

A Grays statement issued on Monday said: "Grays Athletic Football Club do not condone any form of corruption and there is certainly no room for this in football."

Forest Green issued their own statement which expressed their "deep concern" with the betting allegations.

However, the statement also added: "The club will support any investigation into this allegation but it is disappointed that despite betting being suspended 24 hours before kick-off neither club was contacted, nor were other standard practices put into operation by both the Football Association and the Football Conference.

"A joint complaint has therefore been lodged to both these bodies."

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see also
Bookies report 'suspicious' match
26 Apr 09 |  Non League
Grays 2-1 Forest Green
26 Apr 09 |  Non League
Ban on Macedonian club is upheld
15 Apr 10 |  Europe

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