The English Football Association (the FA) is proposing that from the beginning of the 2014/15 season all players, managers and officials in the top eight tiers of English football, including the Premier League, should be subject to a world-wide ban on football-related gambling.
The ban, which was first proposed after an enquiry into betting in football in 2009, is set to to come into force after a vote at the FA AGM in May. The FA have released a statement, which says, ”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.”
At present, players and officials are only prohibited from betting on a match or competition in which they are involved, or passing on inside information that they have acquired but is not public knowledge. The new proposed ban would mean that players are prohibited from betting on any football match anywhere in the world, and will extend not only to betting on the results of matches but also to any other football-related matter, such as transfers, manager sackings and appointments, team line-ups and selections.
In recent months, several high-profile football figures have been found to have breached the existing rules, most significantly League One Tranmere Rovers manager Ronnie Moore, who was sacked in February for a string of gambling offences.
Others who have been found to have broken FA rules include Andros Townsend from Spurs, Dan Gosling of Newcastle United, and Stoke City’s Cameron Jerome, all of whom were fined and suspended. Another thirteen current and former British players are presently under investigation as part of a large-scale enquiry into match fixing.
A further five professional players were arrested in 2013 on charges of bribery, money laundering and the spot-fixing of matches, including the fixing of matches in League One and League Two, the third and fourth tiers of English professional football, and are currently on trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
The ban will not only apply to the players, coaches and officials in the top echelons of the sport, but will also extend down to semi-professional players in the regional Northern, Southern and Isthmian Leagues (classified as Step 4 in the FA structure). The proposed changes have been agreed by the administrative bodies of football’s major stakeholders, including the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA), the League Manager’s Association and the Football Conference.