FA launches investigation into £50,000 thrown match

The Football Association has opened an investigation into The Independent's report yesterday that a footballer with a serious gambling problem has admitted to getting sent off deliberately after colluding with a bookmaker. The player owed the bookmaker £50,000, a source familiar with the situation told The Independent, and the bookie wrote off the debt when the player collected his card, as arranged, having profited from gambling on it.

The player's chronic gambling addiction – the root cause of his action – led him to treatment at the Sporting Chance clinic in Hampshire. The clinic's chief executive, Peter Kay, declined to comment on specifics of the case but corroborated the story.

As part of the investigation, which may involve the FA asking gambling companies to review suspicious betting patterns over the last few years, the FA has asked Kay and The Independent to pass on the name of the player and the bookmaker to assess whether disciplinary action should be taken.

A meeting will be scheduled with Kay, but he is unlikely to provide information that would breach the confidentiality of a player referred for treatment for a serious addiction. It is understood, however, that he has already made the FA aware that the case reported by The Independent was not a one-off. Kay has already confirmed to this newspaper that footballers have gambled or colluded to gamble on being booked – or on other incidents in matches – "to my knowledge on several occasions".

With problem gambling an "epidemic" in football, according to Kay, the FA is considering how best to improve its own methods of preventing the problem. But an FA spokesman conceded: "I have to be honest and say that there is no specific preventative education in place in respect to gambling provided by the FA at the moment.

"We do lots of work with players, especially young players, on alcohol and drugs awareness. This is a key part of their education as players. There is a lot of general education about lifestyle.

"We also hold seminars each season about betting, but this deals essentially with the rules. Gambling is something we have been looking at, and are planning to do further work in line with what we do with alcohol and drugs."

A lot of education to young players which touches on problem gambling but is not necessarily delivered by specialist agencies, is provided and funded by the Professional Footballers' Association.

The PFA's chief executive, Gordon Taylor, described the situation as "beyond belief." He added: "We support the [Sporting Chance] clinic and their attempts to get players on track and it is disappointing that something like this should emanate from them." Taylor said he believed that stories such as the player taking a bribe "can get over-elaborated for effect" at a gambling seminar, which is where The Independent sourced its story.

In fact, that case was among a number of gambling-related incidents disclosed privately to The Independent, more than once – but not in open session – at a seminar at Sporting Chance this week. Those present included players and former players wanting to highlight the dangers of gambling, and its threat to the integrity of the game.

Several spoke in open session about having their lives wrecked by addiction, while the seminar also heard public testimony from respected experts about a large-scale gambling culture in football.

The FA defended its rules on betting, which were softened a few years ago to allow players to bet on football matches they are not involved in and cannot affect. Previously there had been a blanket ban.

An FA spokesman said: "We have clear rules on betting and work with through the clubs and PFA to ensure that these rules are understood by all participants in the game. We remain vigilant."

Kay told The Independent yesterday that football needs to be more vigilant, and provide more education to all players at all levels. Of gambling-related corruption, he said: "Yes, it's happened and probably will happen again, but really that only makes our work and the responsibility of football in general more important. For too long there has been an ambivalent attitude which is changing, and we are listened to now by the authorities."

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past