The Football Association has proposed new robust and wide-ranging restrictions on betting within football. The proposed regulations would come into force at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and would see players, coaches, managers and other individuals involved in the top eight tiers of the English league system prevented from betting on any football match anywhere in the world.
Presently the FA’s regulations on betting can be summarised as follows:
- A ‘participant’ (this includes players, managers, coaches, medical staff, directors, licensed agents and other club employees) is prevented from placing any bet on a game involving their club;
- Participants cannot bet on any game in a competition in which their club plays (this includes competitions that their team has already been knocked out of or has not yet featured in);
- Participants cannot bet on a game on which they have any influence, either direct or indirect;
- Participants cannot place bets by proxy;
- Restrictions on betting are not confined to the results of matches but also apply to in-play bets such as goal-scorers, number of red/yellow cards etc.
The FA’s proposals would prohibit betting on football matches in any competition anywhere in the world and remove the requirement for a participant’s club to be linked to the competition in question. The proposals follow a string of high-profile penalties for breaches of betting regulations.
Most recently, League One club Tranmere Rovers sacked their manager Ronnie Moore after he admitted a number of breaches of betting regulations. The last 12 months have seen a number of Premier League players sanctioned for betting breaches: Dan Gosling (Newcastle United) was fined £30,000; Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) was fined £18,000 and suspended for 4 months, 3 of which were suspended and Cameron Jerome (Stoke City/Crystal Palace) was fined £50,000.
Both Townsend and Jerome spoke of ignorance of the specifics of the FA’s regulations and the prohibition on betting on any competition in which their club was involved. The new proposals would guard against this with a simple blanket ban. Darren Bailey, the FA’s Director of Football Governance and Regulation said of the proposals: “The FA constantly evaluates its rules and regulations to ensure that they meet the needs of the modern game. The proposed betting rule adjustment to encompass all aspects of world football provides a simple and straightforward message to all participants on where the line is drawn.”
By Carl Johnson, Partner, Regulatory Department.