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FA Propose Total Ban On Football Betting

Thu 10th Apr 2014 | Football Governance

The FA has proposed that from next season, participants at Step 4 and above of the English league system will be banned from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition anywhere in the world.

The changes to FA Rules from the start of the 2014-15 season would also see a worldwide prohibition on betting on any other football-related matter, for example, the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection. The passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting remains prohibited.   

The ban received a unanimous recommendation by The FA Council and The Football Regulatory Authority in March. The Betting Rule changes now need to be agreed by FA shareholders at their AGM on 21 May before coming into force. 

The proposal follows consultation with the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers’ Association and Football Conference.

Currently, FA Rules state that no participant can bet on a match or competition in which they are involved that season, or which they can influence, or any other football-related matter concerning the league that they play in.

Darren Bailey, The FA’s Director of Football Governance and Regulation, said: "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.

“It is important to stress that the rules form only one part of the overall framework for the regulation of betting and maintaining the integrity of the English game. In addition to the monitoring of betting markets throughout the world, education remains a key part of our work. 

"Building on previous education programmes, we will continue to communicate to all levels of the game not only the Rules on betting, but also the restrictions in place on the use of inside information and the reporting obligations on Participants. In doing so, we will further stress the collective responsibility that all those involved in football have in upholding the integrity of football in England and beyond."

Tranmere Rovers yesterday [Wednesday 9th April] terminated the employment of Ronnie Moore for being in breach of his contract. Moore admitted an FA charge regarding multiple breaches of Rule E8(b) for misconduct in relation to betting and has requested a personal hearing. 

Football Operations Director and Club Secretary Mick Horton said, “Tranmere Rovers will not tolerate any action that damages the integrity of this Football Club.

“Any staff members found to be guilty of misconduct will face severe action.”

The FA’s move for an outright ban on betting in football is hoped to clear up any ambiguities that may occur. Ashley Wootton, sports specialist solicitor at leading law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, commented, “Tranmere Rovers have sacked manager Ronnie Moore following his admission to an FA charge that he breached betting regulations relating to football matches.  

"Moore has been dismissed by Rovers for breach of contract. It is likely that his contract would have defined a serious breach of FA rules and regulations as an act of gross misconduct which would allow a club to summarily dismiss a manager without notice.

“Following Moore’s charge, and an increasing trend of professional players admitting that they have broken current FA rules surrounding betting in football, the FA is considering amending its betting rules to incorporate a blanket ban on betting by those in football.  

“The current regulations (FA Rule E8) only prevent employees of a club from placing a bet on a game involving their club; a game in a competition in which their club is involved or any games involving under 18 matches.  The regulations also cover asking someone else to bet on your behalf.

"The FA are now considering applying a blanket ban to all football employees from betting on any football game, no matter who the club is or what the competition is.  This will inevitably be difficult to police, but it should demonstrate that the FA is taking the issue seriously and trying to protect the integrity of the game.

“If the new rules are adopted, the FA will publish its guidance on its website and it will be the responsibility of each player, manager and coach to ensure they comply with the rules.  

“Clubs could insist that compliance with the rules is a requirement for their employment and any breach could be an act of gross misconduct, capable of dismissal, as was the case with Ronnie Moore.  For clubs to adopt a tough stance, they should also invest in training and educating their staff to warn them of the dangers of betting in football, particularly with the threat from the growth in spot-fixing allegations.”

Image: Action Images / John Rushworth Livepic

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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