Thursday night: Rooney’s dad denies betting scam

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Wayne Rooney’s father tonight “vigorously” denied allegations of being involved in a football betting scam and was “co-operating fully” with the police investigation, his solicitor said.

Wayne Rooney Snr, 48, was bailed pending further inquiries tonight after being held earlier today when police swooped at his home in West Derby, Liverpool.

Eight other people, including the Manchester United star’s uncle, Richie, 54, and Liverpool-born Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, 26, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. Merseyside Police said all have been bailed until January next year.

Merseyside Police said the arrests were the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission into “suspicious betting activity”.

Tonight Anthony Barnfather, partner at Pannone solicitors who are representing Mr Rooney Snr, said in a statement: “Mr Rooney vigorously denies all of these allegations. We are co-operating fully with the investigation. No further comment will be made at this time.”

The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts on December 14 last year, the police said.

During the game Jennings was shown a red card in the 83rd minute of his side’s 2-1 defeat.

The midfielder had been booked earlier in the match for fouling Kevin Kyle as Hearts launched a dangerous break.

The Gambling Commission, an independent body which was formed under the 2005 Gambling Act, began the probe shortly afterwards when some members of the Association of British Bookmakers publicly raised concerns about betting patterns on the game.

Jennings, originally from Kirkby, near Liverpool, has been a key player for Motherwell since joining from Tranmere in the summer of 2009 and signed his third one-year contract at Fir Park in July.

The club are currently second in the Scottish Premier League.

In a statement, Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said the arrests follow “extensive inquiries” into alleged betting irregularities at the match.

Regan said: “It is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match.”

He added: “The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage.”

Motherwell said in a statement: “Motherwell Football Club can today confirm that the Scottish Football Association made the club aware that one of our players was taken to a Merseyside Police Station early this morning in connection with an ongoing investigation.

“We have no further comment to make at this time. Any further statement would be wholly inappropriate and the club can and will only do so when properly appraised of the next steps in the process by the relevant authorities.”

Richie Rooney was detained at his home in Norris Green, Liverpool, before being bailed.

Jennings was arrested at his Glasgow home and brought to a Merseyside police station for questioning and then bailed.

A 22-year-old from Kirkdale, a 26-year-old from Croxteth, a 29-year-old from Bootle, a 31-year-old from Litherland, a 68-year-old from Fazakerley, and a 36-year-old from Kirkby were also detained and bailed pending further inquiries.