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Billericay Town chairman Steve Kent: Football Association must probe match-fix claims
THE FA must do a “proper investigation” into match-fixing claims, according to Billericay Town chairman Steve Kent.
He has called on the authority to look fully into allegations made about his team, AFC Hornchurch and Chelmsford City last season after bookmakers stopped taking bets on Conference South games involving the three Essex clubs.
Yesterday the FA’s former compliance unit head Graham Bean openly criticised the FA’s handling of the case when it was discovered none of the three club’s chairmen had been contacted.
With a group of British players in Australia being taken to court last month over match-fixing charges, Kent said it is time for a probe to undertaken.
Kent said: “Last season when there were rumours about match fixing, and statements from the Conference league and the FA that they were investigating, no one contacted us.
“How can they investigate alleged match-fixing involving my club when not a single person from the police, the FA or the league made any kind of approach to us whatsoever?
“Just to make this clear, I don’t think there is a big problem, in fact there may not be a problem at all.
“What I’m saying is let’s find out one way or the other. Deal with anything we have to deal with, then draw a line under it and move on.”
Bean said the FA’s failure to contact any of the three clubs named 12 months ago has left a shadow over all of them and more should have been done by the authority.
“If the FA has not done anything on it, then it is clearly a dereliction of duty,” he said.
“With the FA refusing to confirm or deny if they are doing any investigation on the allegations then it leaves them open for criticism.
“All they needed to do was put out a one line release saying: ‘We can confirm that we are looking into the investigation’, that would satisfy people.”
Town’s manager Craig Edwards backed the call for a full probe into the allegations, which he said he found “disgusting” to be levelled at his side.
He feels because the FA have gone as far to name the three clubs they think are involved in match-fixing, they have a duty to look into the claims.
Edwards said: “No one has been found guilty of anything yet. If there is corruption in football, particularly at our level, then that would be terrible.
“The FA cannot lose out in investigating this. If it turns out that there isn’t anything going on then it looks good on the game, but if there is something going on then the FA can act on it.
“A lack of activity from their part looks really poor as they are supposed to be the people running the game and they have to take action over it.”
The FA declined to comment on the criticisms made of them and said they had issued warnings to all Conference South clubs.