Athlone Town have issued an extraordinary press release criticising the FAI over the handling of the investigation into allegations of match-fixing and betting irregularities at the club. 

In the statement, the club expresses disappointment and anger over the manner they have been treated since allegations of match-fixing emerged. 

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The club denies any wrongdoing and say that at all times it has indicated its willingness to cooperate fully with the process initiated by UEFA and investigated by the FAI.

Athlone believe the investigation and disciplinary process has been deeply flawed and that the process has descended into a witch hunt rather than a probe to establish the truth.

The statement adds that the club asked that the investigation be a matter for Gardai and Interpol or another police authority because, it says, they believe that the FAI lack the investigative abilities and resources to find evidence to support the most serious of allegations being made against the club.

The statement says there has been deep reputational damage to the club and the club continues to suffer because of the allegations and as a result their future is far from assured.

Athlone say the process put in place by the FAI does not respect the human rights, natural rights or constitutional rights of its members and that the club is taking legal advice and will take all steps necessary to vindicate the rights of the individuals concerned.

The club also reserves the right to end its engagement with the disciplinary process as the club has little or no faith that a fair outcome will be arrived at.

In the past few minutes the FAI declined to comment on the substance of the Athlone statement saying the organisation was involved in a rigid process and a date had been set for a disciplinary hearing on 3 August.