Spencer Day has told of his "utter disbelief" after Farnborough FC were implicated in a damning match fixing investigation spanning the whole of Europe.
Farnborough’s 3-0 defeat at Bromley on December 7, 2013, is listed as one of three Conference South matches to have fallen victim to betting fraud according to Federbet – an umbrella organisation of top European casino owners and bookmakers, engaged by FIFA, to monitor suspicious gambling patterns.
But stunned Boro chief Day insists it is the first he has heard of the allegations and has received no contact from any of football’s governing bodies.
In the report, presented at the European Parliament on Tuesday, Federbet revealed that the number of rigged matches across the continent rose sharply in 2013-14 and accused football’s authorities of failing to do enough to tackle the problem.
Not least in England where the 11 matches – including ten from the Conference and a FA Premier League Ladies game for the first time – is the highest number from any country, providing a devastating blow to the nation’s reputation for integrity.
In an interview after the match in question in Hayes Lane, Day admitted he was grateful just to escape with a 3-0 defeat after the league leaders rattled in three goals in just 26 first-half minutes – including an own goal from captain Alan Inns – to all but end the match as a contest.
In that time, Farnborough were reduced to ten men after Adam Doyle was harshly sent off 20 minutes in for an air tackle, while first-choice goalkeeper Kevin Scriven was forced off at half-time through injury, replaced by Matt Lovett.
On being informed of the report for the first time on Wednesday, the bewildered Boro chief said: “I’m in utter disbelief, it's got to be the worst bet ever, hasn’t it?
“At the time, Bromley were flying at the top of the league and we were struggling.
“We only had ten men and our No.1 goalkeeper out for the second half – it was 3-0 but it could have been 8-0.
“This is the first that I or anyone else at the club has heard of this allegation and have had no contact from anyone in relation to this matter. Nor do we have anything to hide and we will naturally cooperate fully in any investigation.”
Also implicated in the report was two more Conference South fixtures, including Bishop's Stortford's visit of Tonbridge Angels and Chelmsford City’s trip to Havant & Waterlooville, as well as two from Conference Premier [Kidderminster v Alfreton Town and Forest Green Rovers v Cambridge United] and five from Conference North.
In total, 110 matches, including several Champions League ties, were identified as having been fixed in Federbet’s report with suspicions over a further 350 – a total increase of 20 per cent from the previous year.
The timing of the report is also expected to have an effect on the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil, which is now expected to be the most scrutinised ever in terms of suspicious betting activity.