Gardaí are examining evidence seized during the search of a sports ground in the south of the country last night as part of an investigation into alleged match fixing at League of Ireland football games.

Officers from the Garda's National Economic Crime Bureau seized mobile phones as part of their investigation, which began after the FAI was alerted to unusual betting patterns on matches played this year.

Detectives are looking for texts, email, phone messages, online or other communications that could relate to match fixing.

The FAI said in a statement today it was awaiting the outcome of the garda investigation. It is understood that UEFA has also been informed.

Detectives are examining unusual betting patterns in a number of matches where they suspect deliberate fouls may have been committed to ensure one team lost and money was paid out.

The bets were made on teams losing the games by a certain number of goals, more than one, and money was paid out on the result.

Detectives also noticed that large numbers of home fans in one part of the country were successfully betting against their own team to lose.

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This occurred in a number of games and suspicions arose that the matches had been fixed and that those placing the bets knew beforehand what the score would be.

The pattern was first identified by a gambling company's watchdog, which informed UEFA, which in turn informed the FAI, who reported the matter to gardaí.

Gardaí also spoke to a number of players and staff.

Gardaí say they are investigating potential conspiracy to defraud and corruption offences.