Accrington Stanley managing director Robert Heys has been suspended from all football activity for 21 months by the Football Association after breaching their betting regulations. The governing body charged Heys at the start of the month and he admitted to 735 breaches of their betting rules at a hearing last Thursday – including 231 involving Accrington matches, and 37 of those bets were on his team to lose.
Heys, who was also fined £1,000, intends to appeal the punishment.
In a lengthy statement posted on his website today, Heys, who has been with the League Two side for over ten years, wrote: "Last Thursday I attended a Regulatory Commission at the FA where I made a full and frank admission to 735 breaches of the FA betting rules , spanning a period of 10 years. These bets were made via a number of online betting accounts which I had at that time - all of which are now closed.
"Of the 735 bets that brought the charges, 231 were on games involving Accrington Stanley. These were small stake bets and many were part of an accumulator bet where there was also a reliance on other clubs to win as well - clubs that had no connection to Accrington Stanley.
"Of those 231 bets, 137 were placed on Accrington Stanley to win, 37 to lose, and 57 other types of bet which were predominantly that there would be a total of more than two goals in a particular game, scored jointly by both teams."
Heys' statement continued: "Anyone who knows me personally will know that I only ever want a win for my team. This has always been the case and on occasions when I have very occasionally bet against my club over the last 10 years I would always have been very happy to lose the stake and take the result.
"It is also important to note that I did not make any profit from the bets that have been involved in the FA charges. This was displayed in the schedule produced by the FA – in fact on Accrington bets the outcome was a loss of £421.00 and in respect of the total 735 bets it was an overall loss of £2,318.00.
Heys also announced his intention to appeal, writing: "I accept that I broke the rules and that I must receive a punishment. However, on consideration and following consultation with my representatives, we do feel that a suspension period of 21 months is severe and inappropriately harsh.
"I fully intend to appeal against the excessiveness of the penalty in an effort to get it reduced so that I may work towards resuming my career within the football industry."
Stoke striker Cameron Jerome was recently fined £50,000 after he admitted a number of breaches of FA Betting Rules following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, while Tottenham winger Andros Townsend was fined £18,000 in June and banned for four months, three of those months suspended, for a breach of betting regulations.
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