Ligue 1 betting activity investigated
Several online bookmakers stopped taking bets ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 match between Ajaccio and Montpellier after irregularities in betting patterns were spotted.
Montpellier-based newspaper Midi Libre revealed online bookies and France's betting watchdog, the On-line Gambling Regulatory Authority (ARJEL), were alerted when unusually high sums were wagered on a home victory for Ajaccio, who are battling against relegation from Ligue 1.
"The operators and ARJEL became aware of atypical betting patterns," Jean-Francois Vilotte, ARJEL president, told Le Parisien. "So the operators cancelled all bets on the game, because there were financial risks they didn't want to take."
ARJEL will now take a closer look at the incident before deciding on what further action to take, while L'Equipe reported on Tuesday the French Football League (LFP) has asked Sport Radar, a company which monitors odds for the LFP, to look into the matter.
L'Equipe added that the incident was suspected to have stemmed from a bug in the system of the Francaise des Jeux (FDJ), France's state-owned bookmaker, who is also an LFP partner. L'Equipe claimed the odds set by the FDJ for an Ajaccio home win were mistakenly high, leading to an increase in the number of punters plumping for such an outcome. The sports daily said that to avoid losing a significant sum of money, the FDJ stopped all bets on the game, provoking the alert.
The match ended 2-1 to Ajaccio, who had a man sent off before Montpellier's Younes Belhanda missed a second-half penalty. The reigning French champions then went in front, but Ajaccio equalised with a penalty of their own eight minutes from time when Montpellier were also reduced to ten men before snatching all three points in added time through Kenyan forward Dennis Oliech.
"It's a load of rubbish, it's completely without foundation," Ajaccio president Alain Orsoni insisted in Le Parisien. "It's incredible! Those who watched the game no doubt saw that nothing had been arranged."