Sat, Oct 08, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Rooney’s father, uncle arrested

PUNTERS PULLED IN:The duo were among nine men detained on charges relating to ‘suspicious betting activity’ surrounding a Scottish Premier League match

Reuters, LONDON

England’s Wayne Rooney jokes in a training session in Podgorica, Montenegro, on Thursday ahead of the team’s Euro 2012 qualifying match.

Photo: AFP

The father and uncle of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney were among nine men arrested on Thursday as part of an inquiry into an alleged betting scam.

Merseyside Police said all nine men had been bailed until January, with one of them being confirmed by the Scottish Football Association as being 26-year-old Motherwell midfielder Steven Jennings, who comes from Liverpool and now lives in Glasgow.

The charges relate to “suspicious betting activity” surrounding the Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell and Heart of Midlothian in December last year.

Wayne Rooney senior, 48, was detained at his home in the West Derby area of Liverpool following a joint investigation by Merseyside Police working in cooperation with the Gambling Commission. Rooney’s uncle Richie, 54, was also detained.

“A 54-year-old from Norris Green, a 22-year-old from Kirkdale, a 48-year-old from West Derby and a 26-year-old from Croxteth have all been bailed pending further inquiries,” Merseyside Police said in a statement.

Solicitor Anthony Barnfather, representing Rooney senior, told British media in a statement: “Mr Rooney vigorously denies all of these allegations. We are cooperating fully with the investigation. No further comment will be made at this time.”

Police said the nine arrests were the “culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission” and all the men had been interviewed for conspiracy to defraud.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said on the organization’s Web site that the arrests followed “extensive inquiries” into alleged betting irregularities involving the Scottish Premier League match.

“While the investigation involves several other individuals outwith [outside] Scotland, it is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match,” Regan said. “Motherwell FC are aware of the situation and will issue a response in due course. The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage.”

Midfielder Jennings, who joined Motherwell in 2009 from Tranmere Rovers, Liverpool’s third club after Everton and Liverpool, was sent off in the 83rd minute of the match against Hearts, who won the game 2-1.

Rooney, on international duty with England in Montenegro ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifier, was relaxed following his father’s arrest, England manager Fabio Capello said.

“He told me he has no problems and assured me this personal problem will find a solution within a short time,” Capello told a press conference, adding that Rooney would start the match.

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