Rooney father arrested and bailed
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 soccer match.
A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Rooney’s two relatives were among the nine men arrested in the betting investigation. Police are not authorized to comment publicly about the identity of those arrested.
The younger Rooney, who also plays for England’s national team, 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.
Rooney is in 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.”
Merseyside police said Rooney’s 48-year-old father, who is also named Wayne, and 54-year-old uncle Richie Rooney were arrested at their homes in Liverpool on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud along with seven other men. The pair were released on police bail along with two others on Thursday afternoon pending further inquiries.
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 given a yellow card.
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 $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.”
England captain John Terry said Rooney had his mind on the match.
“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.”