Posted April 19, 2014 by John Baintree in News

The FA Proposes a Ban on Gambling


Now, before I go any further, I need to declare my position. I’m not a fan of the beautiful game, I’d rather sit and watch a good Six Nations tournament in the wilds of January than any number of footie games. Perhaps I’m being rather harsh on myself here as it’s not so much the game (ambivalent here) it’s more the game’s administrators.

So it’s with a degree of incredulity that I read about the Football Association’s response to the scandal that has seen so many players and officials embroiled in illegal match fixing. Greg’s gang (and I always used to rate our Greg) have announced a worldwide ban on anyone playing, managing, or otherwise involved in the game in the UK from placing any bets.

The FA’s announcement states “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.”

Well, that’s all right then, problem sorted. Not!

While the FA can only influence the actions of players and officials in the UK game, placing a ban on them gambling is really like the little Dutch boy who was forced to block the hole in the dyke with his thumb.

The real issue here is not players who gamble.  There seems to be a view that professional sportsmen are to be excused for enjoying a flutter at times, even if it is obscenely large amounts of money. Eh Michael, Matt and Keith, what do you say? No, what needs to be addressed is the international crime syndication that drives the fixing of matches across the world.

No doubt the FA are putting their house in order, but the impression their new rule gives is one of “not my problem so I don’t need to address it.” Rather this announcement should have been part of a concerted campaign launched by the FA, UEFA and FIFA to address the matter.

But hey, in a game that really does believe in the hand of God what can you expect. – oops there I go again.