UK Gambling Commission Investigates Football Players for Betting
According to a recent report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The UK’s Gambling Commission has turned its attention to 53 football players in the world’s top eight leagues as a result of illegal gambling allegations. The players stand accused of having been in breach of betting rules that were implemented by the UK’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit in August 2014. These regulations prohibit any player at any level in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, from all levels of the sport, including players, managers and club officials, from placing bets on any aspect of football.
Football Governance And Regulation Director for England’s Football Association Darren Bailey offered his comments on the subject to the BBC, stating, “This betting rule change to encompass all aspects of world football provides a simple, clear and straightforward message to all participants concerned on where the line is drawn.”
Penalties for breaking the rules set by the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit can be rather stiff for players found in violation. Those found to have wagered on matches can incur fines and even match bans, prohibiting them from participating in future games in their respective football leagues. One such example involved Scottish footballer Joey Barton, a midfielder for Burnley, who received a one-match ban after copping to placing more than 1,200 wagers over the last 10 years. 24-year-old Dean Brett, was sacked today in fact by Scottish League Two squad Cowdenbeath over his gambling offenses, the most egregious of which was betting against his own team. Newcastle United midfielder Jack Colback, Kyle Lafferty from Norwich City and former Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis are all alleged to have had cases brought against them.
While the majority of the alleged 53 offenses are just that, unsubstantiated claims, the body is obligated to take the claims seriously according to anti-corruption efforts on behalf of one of the region’s most cherished pastimes.
Former General Secretary for the Football Association Alex Horne chimed in for BBC’s report on the subject with his comments, “We are really proud of the integrity of the game in this country and it is really important people trust what is happening on the pitch,” adding, “We want to keep our message as simple as possible and it cannot be simpler than, as a player, you cannot bet at all on football.”
The current breach confirmations were achieved via diligent intelligence work on behalf of the Gambling Commission. Chris Eaton, former advisor for both Interpol and FIFA, offered his comments on sports betting from industry insiders to the BBC,
“It is the best the Gambling Commission can do within its regulatory embrace but it is the tip of an iceberg that stretches well beyond the horizons of the Gambling Commission.”
He went on to add,
“In the absence of a global regulatory model, only naive or careless players will be caught in a tiny national net that is swamped in the massive global web that is sports betting.”
Eaton further expanded on the alleged breaches, admitting the offenses would only apply to players using their own names and accounts to place wagers, utilizing illegal betting operations, or placing wagers via friends.
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