The arrests came after a nine-month investigation into the sending off of Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, 26. The former Tranmere Rovers player was also arrested in connection with the betting probe today. The Kirkby-born footballer was arrested by Merseyside police on behalf of the Gambling Commission at his home in Glasgow. He was one of nine people arrested, the other eight being detained at addresses on Merseyside.
After being booked for a foul early on in the game Jennings was shown a straight red card for putting his hand on referee Stevie O’Reilly and arguing when a penalty appeal was turned down in the 83rd minute of the SPL clash. Jennings is alleged to have asked O’Reilly when he was going to stop “cheating” Motherwell.But questions were raised by bookies when it emerged that several bets were made on a player being sent off including a £500 gamble placed through a new account opened in Liverpool at 10/1 odds. Two members of the Association of British Bookmakers, including online betting company Blue Square, reported concerns the day after the match.
In a statement SFA chief executive Stewart Regan attributed the information to the Gambling Commission and said the arrest follows “extensive inquiries” into alleged betting irregularities at a Scottish Premier League match. Mr Regan added: “While the investigation involves several other individuals outside Scotland, it is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match. Motherwell FC are aware of the situation and will issue a response in due course. The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage."
Merseyside Police said: “Detectives have today executed warrants at 10 addresses across Merseyside and Glasgow and arrested nine men as part of an investigation into suspicious betting activity. The arrests are the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission and the nine who have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud are being interviewed by detectives. Those arrested are a 29-year-old from Bootle, a 48-year-old from West Derby, a 54-year-old from Norris Green, a 26-year-old from Croxteth, a 22-year-old from Kirkdale, a 31-year-old from Litherland, a 68-year-old from Fazakerley, a 36-year-old from Kirkby and a 26-year-old from Glasgow.