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Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Bookmakers probe Motherwell red card

Motherwell's Steve Jennings (left) and referee Steve O'Reilly

Jennings was sent off by referee O'Reilly

The Association of British Bookmakers is investigating irregular betting activity over a red card shown in Motherwell's match against Hearts.

Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings was sent off during Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by the Edinburgh side.

A Scottish Football Association statement said: "We are aware of alleged betting irregularities surrounding a sending-off incident."

The SFA will now investigate along with the Scottish Premier League.

"At this stage, we are not in possession of the facts regarding the allegations and are waiting for further information from the Scottish Premier League in due course," said the SFA.

"Once we are in possession of all of the facts, we will be in a better position to provide more detailed comment on the matter.

When we revisited the market for the Motherwell red card, it was pretty clear there had been some suspicious activity

Blue Square spokesman Alan Alger

"In the meantime, we will be working with our colleagues at the Scottish Premier League to establish the details surrounding this incident."

It is understood that several bets were put on a red card being dished out at Fir Park, including one from a new account opened in Liverpool, where a £500 bet was placed on a red card at odds of 10/1.

Blue Square spokesman Alan Alger was certain that activity on his company's website and those of rivals required investigation.

"We keep in touch with all other bookmakers and we were discussing this market with another bookmaker and they reported some suspicious activity and asked us to have a look and see what we'd actually taken on the match," he told BBC Scotland.

"Although we didn't actually notice it in the normal course of our day yesterday, when we revisited the market for the Motherwell red card, it was pretty clear there had been some suspicious activity on our side of things - then we obviously contacted other bookmakers and the regulatory authorities as well.

"At Blue Square, we actually offer specific team red cards. In any particularly live game, you can back a team to get a red card.

"In this instance, the market that had the suspicious activity was the Motherwell red card market, but we understand from other bookmakers that their particular concern was over any red card in the game.

"What we mean by suspicious is new accounts opening up and trying to back that specific outcome."

The ABB said they would not be adding any details at this stage, while Well caretaker manager Gordon Young said: "I wouldn't like to comment on that because I don't know the circumstances."

Motherwell had earlier announced that they will not be appealing against the red card shown to Jennings, who joined the club last year after leaving Tranmere Rovers.

The 26-year-old midfielder was sent off after disputing the decision not to give a penalty in the 82nd minute, when Alan Gow was challenged by Marius Zaliukas inside the box with Hearts already leading 2-1.

Some commentators felt Jennings, who had already been booked in the game, was given a straight red card because he had put his hand on referee Stevie O'Reilly's arm as he protested.

However, Motherwell stated that he was sent packing for foul and abusive language and that the midfielder had apologised to his team-mates and O'Reilly after the match.



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see also
Jefferies thrilled by Hearts' run
14 Dec 10 |  Hearts
Well caretaker finds going tough
14 Dec 10 |  Motherwell
Motherwell 1-2 Hearts
14 Dec 10 |  Scottish Premier


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