Footballers and Betting – The Curious Case of Daniel Sturridge

The beautiful game and gambling are so closely connected that it is almost impossible to think of one without the other. It is easier and safer than ever before to bet on football games, gambling rules and regulations are now strictly enforced, allowing everyone to engage in their favourite pastime with peace of mind. As a result, football betting has gone from strength to strength and become part and parcel of the game, but when it comes to players, the rules are slightly less clear.


In April 2017, the controversial Joey Barton was banned by the Football Association in April 2017 for breaking gambling rules. Following his ban, the now Fleetwood Town manager went on to claim that 50% of professional footballers regularly bet on matches. Whether true or not, it highlights the need within the game for the rules of betting in relation to players to be addressed.


Recently, former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Daniel Sturridge was been banned from all football activity until June 17th, 2020. The ex-Liverpool man was handed a worldwide ban starting from March 2020 and fined £150,000. It is yet another case that illustrates the need for the Football Association to clarify the rules around betting in connection to professional footballers.


In a video released online, Daniel Sturridge admitted he was gutted by the news and promised to “continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and close friends freely, without the real risk of being charge”.


The former England International was initially handed a two week ban and fined £75,000 in July after a regulatory commission confirmed he had given his brother inside information over a potential move to Spanish side Sevilla FC.


However, following an appeal made by the English Football Association, who believed that the length of the ban did not equate the offence, an independent appeal board found that the regulatory commission misapplied the Football Association’s rules, and enforced two additional charges that were originally dismissed. As a result of this, the ban was increased from two weeks to four months, and the fine was doubled from £75,000 to £150,000.


This means that Daniel Sturridge is now suspended from all football and footballing activity until the 17th of June in 2020. FIFA have also confirmed that the ban would be effective worldwide. At the time of the ruling, the former Chelsea man was plying his trade in the Turkish Super Lig for Trabzonspor.


Upon hearing the news, the 30 year old’s contact with the Turkish league leaders was terminated by mutual agreement. In the same video posted online, Sturridge revealed that he would feel uncomfortable “accepting wages from a team that he cannot contribute to due to being banned”.


Daniel Andre Sturridge had joined the Turkish club on a three year contact in August 2019 after being released from Liverpool. He had started life well in Turkey, scoring 7 goals in his first 13 games. Before the movie, he had spent time in England with Manchester City, Chelsea, West Brom and Bolton, but it was at the Merseyside club at which he spent the majority of his career.


During his six and a half year spell at Anfield, he scored a respectful 67 goals in 160 appearances. He was a key member of the Brendan Rodger’s side that finished second in the Premier League table to Manchester City in the 2013/14 season. This was the campaign that featured the infamous slip by captain Steven Gerrard in a 2-0 loss to Chelsea, which ultimately saw them lose out on the title to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. He also enjoyed a decent International career, earning 28 caps and scoring 8 goals, which included appearing at both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 UEFA European Championships.


The fear is that if the governing bodies within football do not come together and clearly confirm their rules, a potentially innocent footballer will one day be denied from playing the game he or she loves.