It’s common knowledge that footballers aren’t allowed to bet on their own profession. However, over the years, some players have thought these rules don’t apply to them.
In this article, I’ll delve into the history of some football players caught betting.
Who Are They?
1. Daniel Sturridge
The once-Liverpool star striker, who last played for Perth Glory in Australia, contributed to his downfall after he was caught breaking betting regulations (Source: Mirror).
In January 2018, Sturridge passed information about a potential transfer and faced a 4-month ban from playing professional football for any club.
Injury issues began the decline of Sturridge’s playing career, and when he was released from Liverpool in 2019, he was signed by Turkish club Trabzonspor.
However, after learning of Daniel’s breaching of betting regulations, Trabzonspor terminated his contract after just 16 appearances.
2. Cameron Jerome
Cameron took his club’s sponsor too literally. bet365’s (Stoke City’s shirt sponsor at the time) marketing campaign must have been good and slightly embarrassing at the same time – as Cameron Jerome was fined £50,000 for breaking FA betting regulations in 2013 (Source: Mirror).
Cameron admitted to repeatedly breaching the regulations. One of which was betting on a competition that his team at the time (Stoke City) competed in.
3. Kieran Trippier
England’s free-kick specialist, Kieran Trippier, was issued with a 10-week ban from all football-related activity and fined £70,000.
However, after several witness statements from the likes of Gareth Southgate and Sean Dyche, and Trippier’s exemplary disciplinary record, these charges were later dropped.
Towards the end of his time at Tottenham Hotspur, he told a friend to “lump” a bet on Trippier being transferred to Atletico Madrid. Three of Kieran’s friends eventually placed bets on his move to Madrid, ranging between £20 and £300.
In the Whatsapp messages (and before the transfer to Atletico Madrid was confirmed), Trippier’s friend is alleged to have said, “Spain is better to live in than Italy”. It turns out Madrid isn’t as friendly a place to live as Newcastle – as he transferred back to England in 2022 (Source: The Guardian).
4. Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend claimed to have lost £46,000 in one night while suffering from a gambling addiction during the 2012/13 season and was suspended for four months due to breaching betting regulations (Source: BBC).
The night before the Championship playoff semi-final during his loan spell at Birmingham City in 2012, the Crystal Palace winger lost upwards of £40,000 in one bet.
The FA also charged Andros with breaking betting regulations in matches he participated in whilst on loan at Queens Park Rangers in 2013. This led to Townsend being withdrawn from the England U-21 squad for the 2013 European Championships.
5. Joey Barton
If you know football, then you probably knew that Joey Barton was going to be somewhere on this list. Current Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton ended his playing career with an 18-month ban from football in 2017 (Source: Independent).
He placed 1,260 bets over a 10-year period, including several wagers related to his teammates.
An example of one of these bets was in 2006 when he bet against his Manchester City teammate, Giorgios Samaras, scoring the opening goal against Fulham in the Premier League. Barton placed this bet at 7:57 PM the night before the game.
It is alleged that Joey had held a Betfair account since 2004. And that he placed over 15,000 bets across a range of sports – with an average stake of £150 per wager.
Players Under Investigation For Betting
Just as Ivan Toney’s career was beginning to reach stardom, some bad decisions he made in the past came up to haunt him.
He was a League 1 striker when he was alleged to be breaching the FA betting regulations (Source: Sky Sports).
In December 2022, Ivan Toney – Brentford and England striker – was charged with 232 alleged breaches of betting rules alleged to have taken place over four years (between Feb 2017 and Jan 2021).
It has been stated that he is cooperating with the FA and will continue to play for Brentford until told otherwise.
The investigation is still ongoing. Ivan has until Wednesday 4th January 2023 to respond to the charge of misconduct by the FA. There is no ban for Ivan as yet.
Taunton Town Players
It’s not just the professional footballers that get punished for breaching betting rules.
Shane White, Ed Palmer. Ryan Brett and Oliver Chamberlain of Taunton Town came together to place a total of 5,414 bets on Football matches between March 2015 and May 2021 (Source: Somerset Live).
These bets meant that all four players were charged for breaching FA rule E8:
“A participant shall not, either directly or indirectly, bet, or instruct, permit, or enable any person for the Participant’s benefit to betting, on the result, progress or conduct of a match or competition in which the participant is participating or in which the participant has any influence, either direct or indirect”.
Despite the 5,414 breaches of FA regulations, there is no punishment yet for any of the players because the case is still ongoing.
More Footballers Could Be Banned
These footballers are not the only ones caught betting (or alleged to be betting). They weren’t the first and won’t be the last.
Maybe your favourite player is placing bets right now, and they just haven’t been caught yet.
After his punishment was awarded, Joey Barton claimed:
“50% of professional Footballers regularly bet on matches“.
Whether that statement is true or not, it is clear that the game needs to do more regarding professional footballers betting, whether that be enforcing stricter punishments for breaching betting regulations or helping football players suffering from gambling addiction.
Every time a story of an elite footballer betting emerges, a piece of integrity for the beautiful game falls away.
In my other article, “Can Footballers Bet?” I look into what players are allowed and not allowed to do when it comes to betting.