IN­SIDE MATCH-FIX­ING PROBE ‘RE­LIEF’

South Wales Evening Post - - FRONT PAGE - PHIL CARDY & KATIE SANDS post­[email protected]­line.co.uk

A SWANSEA woman has spo­ken of her two-year or­deal after be­ing ar­rested as part of a match-fix­ing probe re­lat­ing to a Welsh Premier League foot­ball match.

Hay­ley Hartson was in­ter­viewed by po­lice in 2016 in con­nec­tion with an al­leged gam­bling racket in the Welsh league when huge un­der­dogs won a game 5-0, but has since been told she faces no fur­ther ac­tion.

With a flurry of bets on the match, a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched after Port Tal­bot Town FC lost 5-0 to al­ready-rel­e­gated Rhyl, who had not won in 17 matches.

Hay­ley, 45, was ar­rested along with 10 oth­ers in Au­gust 2016 after win­ning £400 on the re­sult. She had bet £50 at 8/1 that Rhyl would be win­ning at half­time and full-time.

A to­tal of eight men and three women were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of con­spir­acy to de­fraud as part of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by South Wales Po­lice’s Eco­nomic Crime Unit. All 11 were later re­leased on po­lice bail pend­ing fur­ther in­quiries.

Po­lice be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion after re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion from the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Wales and the Gam­bling Com­mis­sion’s Sports Bet­ting In­tel­li­gence Unit about bet­ting pat­terns on the match be­tween Port Tal­bot Town and Rhyl, played on April 9, 2016.

The mat­ter had ini­tially been re­ferred to the Gam­bling Com­mis­sion by the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Wales. Now, nearly two and a half years after her ar­rest, Hay­ley has been told by po­lice she will face no fur­ther ac­tion, Mir­ro­ron­line re­ports.

Hay­ley told the Mir­ror: “It was the last game of the sea­son. I thought the odds were good as I knew both teams were s***. I was de­lighted when I won.

“I went to B&Q and bought some new tiles for my bath­room. Not re­ally a cham­pagne life­style is it?”

Four months after the win, de­tec­tives were knock­ing on her door.

Hay­ley says: “I hadn’t a clue what they were on about. They took my phones, ipad and lap­top. It’s been two-and-a-half years of hell. I’ve not been able to get a job, I’ve put up with sly com­ments, as­sum­ing guilt. Now I want peo­ple to know I did noth­ing wrong.”

Un­der­dogs Rhyl stunned fans when they romped to vic­tory by five goals in their home game – and it was even more of a shock be­cause Port Tal­bot had beaten Rhyl 4-0 just two weeks ear­lier be­fore the re­turn match at Belle Vue, Rhyl. Foot­ball chiefs called in gam­bling ex­perts and po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate the game after the shock score in April 2016.

On Fri­day, a po­lice spokes­woman said: “South Wales Po­lice is con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of match fix­ing of a Welsh Premier League fix­ture in­volv­ing Port Tal­bot Town Foot­ball Club.

“Dur­ing the course of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion a to­tal of 34 in­di­vid­u­als have been in­ter­viewed in re­la­tion to con­spir­acy to de­fraud.

“A to­tal of 24 have now been re­leased with­out charge. South Wales Po­lice is con­tin­u­ing to li­aise with the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice with re­gard to the re­main­ing 10 who re­main un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Speak­ing at the time of the ar­rests, Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Wales chief ex­ec­u­tive Jonathan Ford said: “These ar­rests are as re­sult of a thor­ough process of ev­i­dence gath­er­ing and close co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the FAW, South Wales Po­lice and the Gam­bling Com­mis­sion.

“The FAW re­mains com­mit­ted to our In­tegrity Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme which be­gan in 2014, as well as the mon­i­tor­ing and re­port­ing sys­tems we have in place which have con­trib­uted to these ar­rests.

“The FAW will not bring any sport­ing sanc­tions against any in­di­vid­u­als while the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.”

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