Suspicious activity alerts Irish bookie

The BBC reports that Irish land and online bookie PaddyPower has suspended betting on all Irish League games, including those involving Linfield and Glentoran. The suspension follows reports of an unusually high number of bets being placed on teams which had no chance of winning the league title.

"This isn't necessarily something sinister," said a spokesman for the bookmaker. "People on the ground might know that a key player is or isn't playing or something as simple as that."

The spokesman said that the company would not resume betting on the bulk of Irish League sides until the start of the new season.

"This also happens in relation to the lower English divisions and in Italy as well," he explained to media. "Things just aren't as competitive at this time of year and we're therefore not willing to take the same risk.

"Teams often field younger players, might not be training fully or might even play after a night out."

Irish Football Association President Raymond Kennedy suggested that something must be going on and proposed a deterrent approach: "We could take the line that teams can be told before kick-off tomorrow that we are aware of the situation and just to be watching their step."

A spokesman for Belfast-based bookmakers Toals, which is still taking bets on all Irish League games, said there had been "very, very unusual" betting in relation to Glenavon, Dungannon and Newry City, with continued "treble betting" for all three sides to win despite the odds being slashed from 16-1 to 4-1.

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