FOOTBALL: Rangers defender banned and fined over betting offence

Carrick's Gareth McKeown at Seaview on Thursday night. 'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Carrick's Gareth McKeown at Seaview on Thursday night. 'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
  • Defender banned for remainder of season and fined £1,000
  • Carrick boss Gary Haveron expects player to appeal
  • Taylor’s Avenue club knew McKeown could be facing sanction before they signed him in January

Carrick Rangers defender Gareth McKeown has been banned for the remainder of the season for a breach of Irish Football Association betting rules.

The 32-year-old, who moved from Glenavon to Rangers in January, was also handed a £1,000 fine. According to an IFA statement, McKeown admitted the offence from the outset at a hearing on Wednesday evening.

He was found guilty by the Association’s Disciplinary Committee. The offence allegedly concerns a Glenavon Reserves game.

Speaking after last night’s 2-2 draw with Dungannon Swifts at Seaview, Carrick boss Haveron revealed he and the Taylor’s Avenue club were aware McKeown could face sanctions when they signed him from the Lurgan Blues in January. Haveron also said he expects McKeown to appeal the decision.

“We had an opportunity to bring in a quality, experienced player and for whatever length of time we had him available we knew it was going to be beneficial for us to have him,” Haveron said. “We had hoped the decision would have gone a different way but it is what it is.

“Big Gareth has a case for appeal and I think he’s going to take up that option … but, again, we’re not hopeful of having him available any time soon. It’s a loss to us and it’s a loss to Irish League football.

“Naturally he’s down. He’s staked his side of the events and it’s entirely up to the IFA how they see things and we have to respect that. Gareth has made his case very clear and he will make his case clear again if he does go down the line of appealing.”

He added: At Gareth’s age he could walk away from football and not pay the £1,000 fine. He’s perfectly entitled to do that but I don’t think he will. He’s a really good lad and he’s been great since he came to us.

“It’s just disappointing that we lose a player of that experience and that quality.

IFA statement on McKeown

Gareth McKeown of Carrick Rangers was charged with a breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association (bringing the game into disrepute) as evidenced by a breach of Regulations 45 and 46 (b) of the Irish FA Football Regulations.

Mr McKeown was legally represented at the hearing yesterday evening and admitted to the breach from the outset. He confirmed that he was unaware that providing friends and family with inside information was a breach of Irish FA and NIFL rules as well as a breach of his contract with Glenavon (his club at the time). He did not bet himself on the matches but set up an account for his grandfather using his name and account information.

The Committee decided that Mr McKeown should be suspended for the remainder of the season together with a fine of £1,000. Mr McKeown has the right of appeal to the Irish FA’s appeal board as directed in Article 14 of the Irish Football Association’s articles of Association.

The Irish FA would again remind all clubs, their officials, players and staff of the strict limits on betting imposed by these regulations. Full details of the betting rules are on the Irish FA web site and further copies of the information booklet are available.