SPL news

Jennings free to play

October 13, 2011

Motherwell will continue to consider Steve Jennings for selection despite his arrest in an investigation into irregular betting patterns.

Jennings was bailed until January pending further inquiries on Thursday last week, hours after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud by Merseyside Police, following a joint operation with the Gambling Commission.

Doubts remained over whether Jennings would be free to play while the investigation remained active but Motherwell today insisted he would be available for manager Stuart McCall to pick.

In a statement, the Premier League club said: "Motherwell Football Club have held discussions with both the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Premier League regarding the Merseyside Police investigation involving our player Steven Jennings.

"The club takes the matter very seriously but notes that our player has been released without charge. He remains available for selection and is an important member of our team and club.

"He will continue to assist in the police investigation and the board will continue to monitor the process. The club will not make any further statement on this matter at this time, nor will any member of our staff.

"The Scottish FA and SPL note our decision and we will keep them both closely informed of the situation as it affects us and our player.''

Liverpool-born Jennings was one of nine people arrested and bailed on the same day. The investigation was launched in relation to Motherwell's 2-1 SPL defeat by Hearts in December last year, during which Jennings was sent off.

The 26-year-old, who was booked earlier in the game, was shown a straight red card by referee Stevie O'Reilly for abusive and insulting language after Motherwell were denied a penalty in the 83rd minute.

The Gambling Commission later began their investigation after some bookmakers reported what they believed were irregular bets on the red card market.

Jennings, who denies any involvement in an alleged betting scam, has been a key player for Motherwell since joining from Tranmere in 2009 and signed his third one-year contract in the summer.

The decision allows McCall, who is due to hold his weekly media conference tomorrow morning, to play Jennings against Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday.

Jennings has started all 10 of Motherwell's SPL games so far this season to help them into second place in the table above Celtic.