London: The father and uncle of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney were among nine men arrested Thursday as part of an inquiry into an alleged betting scam, sources close to the story said.
Merseyside police said in a statement that nine men were arrested after an earlier statement from the Scottish Football Association who confirmed that one of the men was 26-year-old Motherwell midfielder Steven Jennings, who comes from Liverpool and now lives in Glasgow.
The charges relate to suspicious betting patterns surrounding the Scottish Premier League match between Motherwell and Heart of Midlothian last December.
Wayne Rooney senior, 48, was detained at his home in the West Derby area of Liverpool following a joint investigation by Merseyside Police working in co-operation with the Gambling Commission, Reuters understands.
Reuters also understands that Rooney`s uncle Richie, 54, was also detained.
In a statement Merseyside Police said: "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.
"The arrests are the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission and the nine who have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud are being interviewed by detectives.
"Those arrested are a 29-year-old from Bootle, a 48-year-old from West Derby, a 54-year-old from Norris Green, a 26-year-old from Croxteth, a 22-year-old from Kirkdale, a 31-year-old from Litherland, a 68-year-old from Fazakerley, a 36-year-old from Kirkby and a 26-year-old from Glasgow.
"The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts on December 14 2010."
All the suspects are being held for questioning at police stations across Merseyside.
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan said on the FA`s website (www.scottishfa.co.uk) that the arrests follow "extensive inquiries" into alleged betting irregularities at the Scottish Premier League match.
Regan said: "While the investigation involves several other individuals outwith (outside) Scotland, it is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match.
"Motherwell FC are aware of the situation and will issue a response in due course.”
"The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage."
Jennings, who joined Motherwell in 2009 from Tranmere Rovers, Liverpool`s third club after Everton and Liverpool, was sent off in the 83rd minute of the match against Hearts, who won the game 2-1.