Cascarino says betting on games by Premiership players is rife

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The Independent Football

Tony Cascarino, the former Republic of Ireland striker, has claimed Premiership players are flouting Football Association rules by betting on football matches.

Cascarino has alleged that players pass on information to each other with regards team selection in an attempt to gain an advantage over bookmakers.

He says players do not risk gambling on games they are personally involved in, which would break the FA's Rule 8(a) regarding betting. However, he believes the second part of that law is regularly infringed.

The FA's Rule 8(b) states: "A Participant shall not use, or provide to any other person, any information relating to football which the Participant has by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available for, or in relation to, betting.

However, Cascarino said: "I reckon about 50 per cent of players like a flutter on other matches. The anonymity of online gambling has added to the appeal for players and just after midday on a Saturday is peak time. It's nice to have an advantage by speaking to your mates. It doesn't guarantee you are going to win but it does give you the edge.

"Here's how it works. The players will have the team meal; their manager will name his side and then they phone their mates at other clubs and feed them the news," he added. "Armed with that knowledge, they get on the phone to the bookies and that's what gives the players the edge."

The report in the News of the World in which Cascarino's allegations appeared highlighted Bolton's 4-1 Premiership win over a weakened West Ham on 11 March as one instance when FA rules were allegedly broken, with one "top Premiership player" reported to have wagered £200,000 on a Bolton victory at odds of 11-10.

* A Manchester United footballer was accused of racially abusing an opponent during their Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. The match referee and officers investigated a complaint made by two Bolton fans against the United player after the match at the Reebok Stadium. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said the investigation concluded no crime had been committed.

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