Sacked spot-fixing suspect denies claims

A football player sacked by Oldham Athletic after being arrested in a spot-fixing investigation says he “vehemently denies” the allegations.

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Cristian Montano had his contract terminated by English third-tier club Oldham on Monday, having been one of six players arrested earlier this month by the National Crime Agency (NCA) – Britain’s equivalent of the FBI – following a newspaper expose.

The 22-year-old Colombian and the five other men were bailed until April by the NCA, which is yet to bring charges against them.

Oldham cited “gross misconduct” as their reason for sacking Montano, having initially suspended him, but he has criticised the club for not letting him put across his side of the story.

In a statement on Wednesday, Montano’s barrister Roy Ledgister said his client was “disappointed” and would appeal against the club’s decision, which he described as “illogical as it appears no proper investigation was carried out”.

“The club would usually have interviewed their player as part of their investigation, instead they chose to engage in ‘lengthy discussions’ with their lawyers,” the statement said.

“Cristian has at all times been available to speak with them and naturally, as is his right, would have liked to have made sure that the club and its fans understood his denial of wrongdoing.

“He vehemently denies being involved in spot-fixing and welcomes the criminal investigation, with which he will fully co-operate.”

Born in Colombia, Montano moved to London as a child. He joined West Ham United as a trainee and signed as a professional in August 2010, but did not make any first-team appearances.