Players linked with illegal bets

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The Independent Online

The Football Association has no plans yet to investigate claims that Premier League players are ignoring FA rules by placing huge football-related bets.

The Football Association has no plans yet to investigate claims that Premier League players are ignoring FA rules by placing huge football-related bets.

To protect the game's integrity, not only players but coaches, managers and directors are strictly forbidden to bet on any competition in which they are involved. However, an investigation by the News of the World has claimed to reveal bets totalling £3m placed with one firm alone since the start of the season.

These range from straightforward bets on the outcome of matches to wagers on changes of manager and even on players being sent off. Often, accounts have been opened in the names of others but the identities of the real gamblers are said to be well known.

The investigation, based on evidence said to be obtained from the Newmarket-based Soccer Exchange, claimed one Premiership defender stands to win £15,000 every time Birmingham City's Robbie Savage is sent off this season and £250,000 if he receives five red cards.

In another example, a so-called insider is said to have won £7,200 on Sir Bobby Robson leaving Newcastle and a further £6,000 on Graeme Souness being named as his successor.

The report alleges that players at Manchester City, Tottenham and Portsmouth are among the biggest punters.

By gambling with betting exchanges, it is possible to bet on a team to lose in much the same way as a client can bet on a horse to lose. It was the growing prevalence of this kind of betting that prompted recent police investigations into alleged race-fixing.

FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said last night: "Allegations are made all the time and as yet these are unconfirmed."

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