LONDON (AP) -- The father and uncle of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney were arrested Thursday as part of an investigation into betting irregularities at a Scottish Premier League football match.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, right, celebrates after scoring a goal against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Sunday Sept. 18, 2011. (AP-Yonhap News)
Rooney's 48-year-old father, who is also named Wayne, and 54-year-old uncle Richie Rooney were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud along with seven other men. All nine men were released later in the afternoon on police bail until January pending further inquiries.
“Mr. Rooney vigorously denies all of these allegations,” Rooney's solicitor, Anthony Barnfather, said in a statement. “We are co-operating fully with the investigation. No further comment will be made at this time.”
The younger Wayne Rooney has not been implicated in the investigation, which focuses on Motherwell's home match against Hearts at Fir Park on Dec. 14. Motherwell lost 2-1.
As his father was arrested, Rooney was heading to Montenegro for a European Championship qualifying match on Friday.
“I spoke to (Rooney) and I found him relaxed and calm,” England coach Fabio Capello said. “No problems for the game tomorrow against Montenegro.”
England captain John Terry said Rooney had his mind on the match, with the team needing at least draw to guarantee a spot at Euro 2012.
“Wayne's focused on the game tomorrow. We all realize the importance of that,” Terry said. “As I've said before, it's important for him to go out and play his football, which he loves doing.
“Tomorrow's game is the most important thing and we all realize that and appreciate how difficult the game is going to be.”
One of those detained was Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, who played in the match and was given a straight red card with eight minutes remaining for disputing a penalty decision. Jennings had earlier been booked.
The betting investigation centers around a player receiving a red card in the match.
“Detectives have today executed warrants at 10 addresses across Merseyside and Glasgow and arrested nine men as part of an investigation into suspicious betting activity,” Merseyside police said in a statement. “The arrests are the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission.”
It has been reported that several bets were placed on there being a red card in the match, including a bet of 500 pounds ($765) placed through a new account opened in Liverpool at odds of 10-1.
The 26-year-old Jennings joined Motherwell in 2009 from Tranmere, a team based in Liverpool.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said the arrests were the result of “extensive enquiries” into suspicious betting patterns. He also said the SFA is working with the police and the Gambling Commission.
“I am confident that Scottish football is doing everything it can to take any betting irregularities out of the game,” Regan said. “There is no evidence to suggest that any other match has been involved.”
웨인 루니 아버지, 승부조작 혐의로 체포
잉글랜드 프로축구 맨체스터 유나이티드(이하 맨유)의 간판 공격수 웨인 루니(26)의 아버지가 축구 승부조작에 가담한 혐의로 경찰에 체포됐다.
7일 AP통신에 따르면 루니의 아버지인 웨인 루니 시니어(48)는 지난해 12월 열린 스코틀랜드 프리미어리그 마더웰-하츠 경기에서 불법 베팅을 한 혐의로 리버풀의 자택에서 연행됐다.
루니 시니어와 함께 루니의 큰아버지인 리치 루니(54)와 리버풀 출신의 마더웰 미드필더 스티브 제닝스(26) 등 모두 9명이 불법 베팅 혐의로 체포돼 조사를 받았다.
경찰은 이들이 현역 선수인 제닝스와 사전 모의를 거쳐 해당 경기에서 퇴장당하 는 선수가 나오는 데 돈을 건 뒤 거액의 배당금을 챙긴 것으로 보고 있다.
제닝스는 마더웰이 1-2로 진 당시 경기에서 종료 10여분 전 주심에게 페널티킥 을 주지 않는다며 격렬하게 항의하다가 레드카드를 받고 퇴장당했다.
루니의 아버지 등 9명은 조사를 받은 뒤 보석금을 내고 풀려났지만 경찰은 추가 혐의를 계속 조사할 방침인 것으로 알려졌다.
루니 아버지 측 변호사는 "루니 시니어는 모든 혐의를 부인하고 있다"며 "경찰 조사에 최대한 협조하겠다"는 입장을 전했다.
루니는 현재 몬테네그로와의 2012년 유럽선수권대회 예선 최종전을 앞두고 잉글 랜드 국가대표팀에 소집돼 있다.
파비오 카펠로 잉글랜드 대표팀 감독은 "루니는 이 사건은 개인적인 문제이고 경기에 나서는 데에는 아무런 문제가 없다고 수차례 강조했다"고 전했다.