AFC Fylde betting probe set to come to a head
AFC Fylde expect a quick decision, possibly as early as Monday, into an investigation by the FA into match betting allegations involving five of their players.
Coasters' manager Dave Challinor is alrready bracing himself for serious repercussions for the the players being probed - two are still contracted at the club, one is non-contracted and the two others under investigation have left AFC Fylde.
The period of uncertainty has coincided with the build-up to the new season for Fylde who play their first match in the Vanarama National League on August 5 at home to Boreham Wood.
Challinor said: "There are five players, not seven as has been said.
"It is not a question of the players concerned having bet on their own team or betting against.
"It is not my position to say who the five players are, but if you look at the team we fielded in a pre-season match on Tuesday, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to have a good guess who they may be.
"It has created uncertainty and we have spoken to various people like the FA and the PFA and they are all telling us different things."
The Coasters' boss said some of the amounts involved are 'trivial' though as well as fines one of the sanctions that the FA can impose is suspension if players are deemed to have broken the rules.
Challinor said: "They are not amounts involved that are really serious, but I can see why the FA take the approach that they do.
"One of the bets concerned was apparently just 70 pence or something and maybe it was a question of somebody pressing the wrong button on his computer - I don't know.
"But it could mean that someone is going to learn a very harsh lesson for a mistake that they have made."
The investigation has produced something of a quandary for Challinor - if the FA hand down suspensions from football to the players involved then it could mean a venture into the transfer market to plug the gaps.
AFC Fylde operate with one of the smallest squads in the National League.
Nonetheless, Challinor is looking forward to the season and a totally fresh challenge with optimism.
He said: "It is a massive step, but the new lads we have brought in have fitted in really well.
"We know that we are going into a league to play against clubs with a really big infrastructure, but we feel we will be in a position to compete.
"Some clubs will know a lot about us, but maybe we will surprise a few others."