John Hartson's family are CLEARED of match-fixing
Four members of BT Sport pundit John Hartson’s family – including his two sisters – are CLEARED of match-fixing after bets on game where 100-1 underdogs won 5-0
- The former Arsenal star, who is now a BT Sport pundit, said he is ‘over the moon’
- Sisters Hayley Hartson, 46, and Victoria Hartson De-Vulgt, 36 were quizzed
- They were arrested with Hayley’s son James and Victoria’s husband Leigh
- James and Leigh play for Port Talbort, but were not picked in 5-0 trouncing
Four members of ex-footballer John Hartson’s family have been cleared of match-fixing after betting on a 5-0 trouncing by 100-1 underdogs four years ago.
The former Arsenal star, who is now a BT Sport pundit, said he is ‘over the moon’ at the exoneration of his relatives who have been under the spotlight since 2016.
His sisters Hayley Hartson, 46, and Victoria Hartson De-Vulgt, 36, as well as Hayley’s son James, 24, and Victoria’s husband Leigh De-Vulgt, 38, were among 11 people arrested during an investigation into a suspected gambling racket in the Welsh league.
Police were called in 2016 following the shock defeat of hot favourites Port Talbot at the hands of bottom-of-the-table Rhyl AFC, who had gone 17 games without a win.
The foursome were drawn into the probe for placing bets on the game – James and Leigh both play for Port Talbot but were not in the match day squad.
Four members of ex-footballer John Hartson’s family have been cleared of match-fixing after betting on a 5-0 trouncing by 100-1 underdogs four years ago (pundit pictured)
The former Arsenal star, who is now a BT Sport pundit, said he is ‘over the moon’ at the exoneration of his relatives who have been under the spotlight since 2016 (John pictured with sister Victoria De-Vulgt)
Hayley Hartson, 46, and her son James, 24, were arrested in the four-year probe
Victoria and her husband Leigh De-Vulgt, 38, were also among 11 people arrested during an investigation into a suspected gambling racket in the Welsh league
Reacting to the announcement prosecutors had cleared them, Hayley, who spent her £400 winnings in B&Q, recalled how she only placed the bet because both teams were ‘s***’.
She said: ‘It was the last game of the season. I thought the odds were good as I knew both teams were s***.
‘I was delighted when I won. I went to B&Q and bought some new tiles for my bathroom.
‘Not really a champagne lifestyle, is it? If I’d known it was fixed, I would have put £10,000 on it.’
She said her ex-Celtic, Wales and West Ham brother John was ‘over the moon and delighted’ that no charges were brought.
As well as offering punditry, recovering gambling addict Hartson, 45, is also and public speaker attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
James Hartson (pictured) plays for Port Talbort with his uncle Leigh – but both were not picked for the 2016 defeat to Rhyl
Bookies were offering between 70/1 and 100/1 against Rhyl winning 5-0 in the match.
Officials studied video footage of the match which shows some ‘very sloppy’ Port Talbot defending for all five goals – and a Port Talbot player smashing a penalty high over the bar.
In the video highlights, Port Talbot centre forward Martin Rose balloons a penalty way over the bar in one of their few attacks.
Goalkeeper Steven Cann’s is also seen picking the ball out of the net five times after his defenders appear to be jogging around the pitch as Rhyl strikers run through on goal.
Large sums of money were placed on Rhyl to be leading at half-time and full-time at odds of 8-1.
The score at half time was 2-0 to the home team and they netted another three in the second half.
The crowd of 293 were stunned at the dramatic victory as struggling Rhyl pulled one of the shocks of the season.
Leigh De-Vulgt with Victoria Hartson De-Vulgt who have both been cleared
A police spokesman said: ‘A file of evidence was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, which was reviewed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and the decision was made that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges in this case.’
A statement from Port Talbot Town said: ‘The impact of the original allegations on the club has been significant and caused a great deal of hardship over the last 5 years as a result.
‘However, we are now keen to move on from this and continue the excellent rebuilding work already in progress at Port Talbot Town Football Club.
‘The club wishes to thank everyone for their support during this time and we now look forward to an exciting new chapter in the club’s long and prestigious history.’
A CPS spokesman said: ‘Police submitted a file to us to consider offences of Conspiracy to Defraud. We determined that, having considered all the evidence, the legal test for a prosecution was not met.’
The Football Association of Wales said: ‘We take allegations of match-fixing very seriously. We will now continue with our own investigation and consider the allegations.’
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