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We never have to wait too long to hear about yet another football player who has been found guilty of breaching the FA’s betting rules.
It seems a relatively straightforward concept to simply avoid punting on the sport while you’re a professional player, while the same applies to passing other people information that might aid them for a particular betting market.
However, football players notoriously have plenty of available time away from the training pitch and they often end up placing large bets which get flagged up by the operator in question, with an investigation then undertaken to keep the image of the sport clean.
In this article, we look at ten football players who have been found guilty of either placing bets or breaching the rules in some shape or form.
Matt Le Tissier
It’s easy to forget that Daniel Sturridge was once the first-choice striker for England and was also an integral part of an exciting Liverpool team. However, the Brummie has had a career punctuated by injury and in 2019 he was found guilty of breaching the betting rules after allegations that he passed inside information over a potential transfer in January 2018.
Originally, it appeared as though Sturridge was going to be handed a six-week ban with four of these weeks suspended, although the FA then appealed against the findings of an independent commission and decided thereafter to impose a four-month ban which applies to playing professional football for any club.
The player was also hit with a £150,000 fine and Turkish club Trabzonspor were quick to terminate Sturridge’s contract at the club, with the former Three Lions international continuing to protest his innocence and laying the blame at the door of betting companies who allow customers to bet on transfer activity.
Barton is another high-profile football player who fell foul of breaching the FA betting rules, with the governing body charging the controversial figure in December 2016. The evidence stacked up against the Liverpudlian considering it was revealed that he placed 1,260 bets over a period of ten years, including several wagers that related to his various team-mates.
Between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, it was alleged by the FA that Barton broke rules by betting on “football matches and competitions”, with the midfielder leaving Glasgow Rangers in November 2016 after being given a one-match ban for breaking Scottish Football Association rules on gambling.
In April 2017, the FA decided to ban Barton for 18 months after considering a suitable punishment for his misdemeanours. The current Fleetwood Town manager admitted that he had held a registered Betfair account since 2004 and placed over 15,000 across a range of sports, with an average stake size of £150.
The Football Association don’t just go after high-profile players in a bid to keep the image of the sport clean from betting malpractice, with Scott Kashket being banned from all football activity for two months in January 2020 after the Wycombe Wanderers player admitted to breaking the rules.
The striker was discovered to have placed 183 bets on matches between 3 September 2014 and 22 August 2016 while he was on the books at Leyton Orient, with 65 of these wagers actually relating to a game that his club were involved in.
An independent regulatory commission did confirm that there was no suggestion that Kashket was involved in match-fixing, nor did they imply that the 23-year-old had used inside information in order to gain an improper advantage.
While Wayne Shaw can hardly be described as a professional football player, the Sutton United reserve goalkeeper made the headlines during a televised FA Cup clash against Arsenal when he was captured eating a pie while sitting in the dugout.
Many spectators laughed at the rotund Shaw munching away while his team-mates were getting beaten by the Gunners, although it transpired that the player had slightly more sinister motives than simply being hungry.
In the lead up to kick-off, the now defunct Sun Bets had been offering a range of special bets relating to the Sutton United v Arsenal match and that included odds of 8/1 that Shaw would be caught on camera eating a pie.
After the media storm which was deliberately engineered by The Sun, Shaw decided it would be better all-round if he simply took his leave from Sutton United.
Andros Townsend is another ex-England international who has had a career mainly in the Premier League, although the Crystal Palace winger was caught breaking the betting rules by the Football Association after a bad habit spiralled out of control while on loan at Birmingham City.
During the 2012/13 season, Townsend revealed that he lost £46,000 in one night while in the midst of a gambling addiction, with the ex-Tottenham player getting suspended for four months for breaching the betting regulations as a result.
The player managed to seek the right help in the months following his FA charge and revealed that his online betting started when he saw an advert on television and downloaded a bookmaker app. Yet another example of a player with a lot of money and spare time on his hands.
While Matt Le Tissier now plays a central role in promoting Sky Bet due to his employment under the Sky Sports umbrella, the Southampton legend did get himself into hot water a few years ago after revealing that he was part of a failed spread betting sting while on the books at The Dell.
Naturally, ex-football players want to include some juicy details when they write an autobiography and Taking Le Tiss revealed that the former England international had conspired with friends and a team-mate to try and profit with a spread bet which centred on the time of a first throw-in during a match.
It all came down to whether Le Tissier could kick the ball out of play within a few minutes of kick-off, although the ex-player claims that he didn’t manage to do this in time and made no money from the bet. The Crown Prosecution Service duly looked into the revelation but decided to take no further action.
Martin Demichelis won a Premier League title with Manchester City during the 2013/14 football season, although the Argentine wasn’t immune to having a gamble and he was charged £22,000 for betting on football matches in May 2016.
It emerged that the central defender placed 29 football bets on matches spanning a period of three weeks, with the player managing to escape a ban, although he was warned as to his future conduct by the Football Association.
It might seem like a fairly lenient punishment compared to others, although it was made clear that the offences didn’t relate to any matches where the-then 35-year-old could have an influence.
Stoke City have a strong association with online bookmaker Bet365 and it was one of their players who received a £50,000 fine for breaking the Football Association betting rules in August 2013. Cameron Jerome was severely punished after HE admitted that he repeatedly breached the regulations set out by the FA.
The player was 27-years-old at the time, although there was actually no suggestion that Jerome gambled on games, nor was there any insinuation that he was involved in match-fixing.
However, the striker did become the second player to be charged under betting rules within the space of a few months after Andros Townsend had been banned at a similar time.
Midfielder Dan Gosling previously had a spell with Newcastle United and it was while he was on the books at St James’ Park that he was charged with breaching the FA betting regulations.
According to the Daily Mirror, Gosling actually made somewhere in the region of £5,000 from his betting and was seemingly unaware of the rules which prevented him from placing any bets on football.
However, that profit was donated to a Newcastle United charitable trust, while the player also had to pay a £30,000 fine following the charge which included multiple breaches of the rules.
Perhaps we’ll hear more about Jordan Stevens in the future considering he’s just at the start of his career at Leeds United, although the youngster was given a six-week FA ban for breaching the betting rules in September 2019.
The Yorkshire club described the ban as “disproportionate” after it emerged that the midfielder placed 59 bets during the course of the 2018/19 season, with five of these wagers on matches involving the Whites.
On the one hand, the modest total of £510.12 that was staked could mean the punishment was viewed as harsh, although Stevens did also bet on the “Both Teams to Score Twice” market considering it carried a maximum sporting sanction of twelve months.
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