FA seeks blanket ban on betting for players, managers and officials

By Emma Rumney
The Football Association has proposed a worldwide blanket ban on betting for anyone involved in the top eight tiers of the English league system.

Players are already prohibited from betting on any competition their team have been involved in during the season, but this week the FA Council have unanimously agreed to suggest an extension of the ban. Under the proposals any participant - including managers, coaches and so on - at step four and above in the FA pyramid would be banned from betting, "either directly or indirectly", on any football-related matter anywhere in the world.

Darren Bailey, the FA's director of football governance and regulation, said: "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."

The FA said this would include the "transfer of players" and the "employment of managers or team selection" as well as emphasise that participants are banned from using or passing information for betting purposes.

Seven football league players were recently arrested and bailed as part of an ongoing investigation into spot-fixing, while six players previously arrested and bailed over the same bribery and money laundering allegations have been re-arrested.

One of the latter group, ex-Charlton and Portsmouth defender Sam Sodje, described to a Sun on Sunday journalist how he had been paid £70,000 for purposely punching an opponent in order to get a red card. His comments sparked the National Crime Agency investigation which lead to the arrests of the players.

The FA hopes the new rules will "stress the collective responsibility that all those involved have in upholding the integrity of football", increase clarity and help to curtail problem gambling among players.

The changes, on which the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers Association, League Managers Association and Football Conference have already been consulted, now need to be approved by the FA shareholders at their annual general meeting on 21st May.

The Guardian reports that the proposed blanket ban, first suggested by then FA chairman Lord Triesman in 2009, could be "within weeks of becoming a reality".
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