Athlone manager Roddy Collins vehemently defends banned duo Dragos Sfrijan and Igors Labuts – Irish Mirror

Athlone Town manager Roddy Collins has vehemently defended his banned players Dragos Sfrijan and Igors Labuts saying the FAI ruling against them has 'made him sick to the pit of his stomach'.

Igors Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan were found guilty of being in breach of the rules: Rule 99: Bringing the Game into Disrepute, Rule 105: Manipulating Matches and Rule 106: Betting/Gambling.

The pair were handed 12 month bans respectively.

In his column in The Irish Daily Star Collins said: " It's a complete and utter disgrace what has happened to Igors and Dragos.

"The club and their union the PFAI will exhaust every avenue to prove they are innocent of all the charges .

"This is the most despicable outcome I have come across in football in those four decades of involvement, dating back to those first few steps I took with the Bohemians reserves in the old League of Ireland B division in 1977."

Igor Labuts fluffs a shot leading to the concession of a goal vs Longford Town

The ruling - which will be appealed - came after a four-month probe into suspicious betting activity on Asian markets on an Athlone Town-Longford Town league game on April 29.

Since May, FAI officials have interviewed squad members, club officials, outside parties and studied video footage of the match in question.

"If I had the slightest inkling that either of these lads were involved in anything untoward, they would be out the gate at Lissywollen immediately", Collins said.

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