Secret FA study into 30 'illegal' gambling cases

The Football Association has conducted 30 investigations, most of them secret, into suspected cases of illegal gambling by players and officials involved in English football in the past 14 years, with eight of the investigations leading to formal disciplinary proceedings.

The information was provided by leading anti-corruption officials from the FA to a parliamentary inquiry into sports-related betting and has been revealed in transcripts of the inquiry's hearings.

The same inquiry heard evidence from Tom Kelly, chief executive of the Association of British Bookmakers, which represents British betting companies, who spoke about an investigation into an unidentified case of alleged match-fixing, believed to be in Scotland.

The FA's evidence to the parliamentary inquiry placed on record for the first time the precise number of investigations into illegal gambling by participants in English football. Participants are defined as club directors and officials as well as players. Jonathan Hall, the FA's director of governance, Steve Barrow, the FA's head of regulation, and Alistair McLean, the FA's head of legal and business affairs, all gave evidence.

"In our case, probably going back over the last 14 years or so, we have had a total of 29 or 30 investigations of which eight have led to disciplinary proceedings being instituted against participants," Barrow told the inquiry. He was asked: "Do you mean participants?" He replied: "That is correct."

The FA is routinely secretive about such matters for obvious reasons, not least confidentiality issues. An FA source said that the eight cases that have been prosecuted by the FA all involved "low level" transgressions of the rules.

One of these "low level" offences saw Gillingham's chairman, Paul Scally, being charged for backing his own team to lose against Manchester City in the 1998-99 play-off finals. They lost. Another saw Steve Claridge charged and fined for betting on his team, Portsmouth, to win a game against Barnsley, which they did. Both cases were heard in 2000, when the FA had a blanket ban on betting by players or officials. The governing body subsequently, inexplicably, slackened its rules to prohibit betting only on games in which the gambling players or officials were involved.

Other offences alluded to by Barrow have remained unpublicised, but while the FA does not feel English football has any current serious problem with illegal gambling, it acknowledges the potential threat. "While the FA does not believe that English football faces a major problem with betting-derived abuses, there have been isolated incidents of concern, and the recent reports from Germany show we cannot afford to be complacent," the FA said in a statement.

The FA welcomed this week's finding of the parliamentary inquiry, conducted by the all-party Betting and Gaming Group, and also urged the government "to appoint a commissioner with expertise on sporting matters to the Gambling Commission to advise on issues such as these". Kelly, who told The Independent yesterday that he was "surprised" his evidence had been published, told the inquiry in November that "significant" money was wagered on a team to win a match, "and to be in front at half-time, much larger sums than one would normally associate with that category of football match or with that type of betting".

Kelly declined to provide details of the fixture at the inquiry, or yesterday, but the game he described is believed to have involved Ayr versus Raith Rovers in the Scottish First Division on the final day of last season. Ayr led 1-0 at half-time and the game finished 1-0. Bets of £250,000 were reportedly wagered on that outcome. The Scottish Football League confirmed yesterday that it concluded an investigation into that game (played in May 2004) last October. "We'd heard someone had perhaps infringed the rules but a painstaking investigation found they had not," a spokesman said.

Kelly said in November that the inquiry into the match he was talking about was still ongoing, although it seems he may not have been aware the SFL investigation had already concluded at the time.

The SFL said no subsequent matches had been investigated over match-fixing allegations, while the English FA said there are no current investigations into match-fixing in England.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen