Igor Labuts, a former goalkeeper for Athlone Town, has been cleared of a match-fixing allegation following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Labuts was initially issued with a 12-month ban in September 2017 due to suspicious betting patterns after a 3-1 loss to Longford Town that April. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has since been ordered to pay 3,000 Swiss Francs (€2,800) to Labuts to cover his costs.
CAS agreed with the FAI’s original decision that the game had been manipulated, however it denied that Labuts was involved.
Labuts was represented by the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland (PFAI), which had raised concerns over the way that expert witness testimony was used to assess Labuts’ actions in the game.
Labuts, who had already served his suspension, said: “I thought this day would never come.It is hard to explain how personally devastating the last three years have been for me and my family. I came to Ireland with the intention of making it to the Premier Division and I hoped to put myself in the shop window with Athlone Town.
“I am not the best goalkeeper in the world but I thought with the right training and experience, I could improve my consistency levels and have a reasonable career in the League of Ireland. This was taken away from me by the FAI.
“I have since returned to playing futsal and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given in that sport,” he continued. “I still hope to return to playing professional football at some point and I hope this vindication will help.”