THE Football Association has launched a match-fixing probe after "unusual betting" was reported on Accrington Stanley’s match against Bury on Saturday.
And the Reds have pledged they will take tough action if any player is found guilty of wrongdoing.
National newspapers reported that £300,000 had been staked on a Bury win in the final match of the season – compared to an average of around £20,000 which is normally bet on a single League Two game.
Various bookmakers not-iced the big money going on the game – a no-pressure match with both sides safe in the league – before some stopped taking bets.
They reported it to the FA which in turn spoke to both clubs’ chairmen last Friday night.
The match officials were changed as a precaution and an FA assessor was at the game, which Bury won 2-0, to check everything was in order.
The FA said this week that the matter was still being investigated before it decides whether to take it any further – which could mean handing any evidence it may find over to the police.
A spokesman said yesterday: "This is a complex matter and our inquiry continues."
Director of Communications Adrian Bevington told the Observer: "We were made aware by the Football League of the irregular betting patterns around the game with Bury.
"We cannot give any time scale on the investigation as fortunately it is a very rare issue and it will take as long as it takes.
"We are currently obtaining information from the betting companies and the Gambling Commission and then we will be speaking to both clubs."
Incidents of "unusual betting’’ are rare in the Football League, though there have been recent cases investigated in the Irish League – in a match between Glenavon and Armagh last month – and in the Eirecom League where betting was suspended on a game between Sligo Rovers and Bray last year.
Stanley chief executive Rob Heys said: "The last thing we heard from the FA was on Friday night when we were told about the high number of bets being placed on the game.
"We are just waiting to hear like everyone else.
"The one thing we are sure of though is that Accrington Stanley as a club won’t be penalised because we have done nothing wrong.
"I have heard people talking about docking points and us being thrown out of the league but I do not think they can do it as no-one at the top level of the club has done anything wrong.
"But if anything is found that implicates individuals then they will be out.
"It is as simple as that.
"People have talked about us at the club having an internal investigation but the FA has the resources and we are waiting to see what it comes back to us with.
"It has a lot more power so we just have to see what its investigation brings."
Bury Football Club has issued a statement saying: "We will fully co-operate with any investigation and will not make any further comment until it is concluded."
Bookmakers have said that a lot of the bets on the game originated on Merseyside, which added to the suspicion that something was wrong.
It is believed some are now refusing to pay out until the issue has been resolved.
Stanley manager John Coleman said: "If ever there is a chance to have a pop at us people take it.’’