Andros Townsend has pulled out of the England squad for next month’s European Under-21 Championship after being charged by the Football Association with allegedly breaking betting regulations.
Townsend, who has returned to Tottenham having spent the second half of last season on loan at Queen’s Park Rangers, has until 3 June to respond to the charges, which cover a number of alleged betting offences. Under FA rules no player is allowed to bet on any matches in any competition they take part in whether at league, cup or international level. The charges are not thought to involve any alleged attempt at match- or spot-fixing nor to have been on matches that Townsend himself played in. It is understood the player is likely to seek help to deal with a possible gambling problem.
A statement from the FA about his withdrawal from the England squad said: “Andros Townsend has withdrawn himself from the squad after the FA announced charges against him in relation to alleged betting offences. Townsend will receive the full support of the FA and Tottenham Hotspur FC in seeking rehabilitation whilst responding to the allegations.”
The FA’s statement on the charge said: “The FA has announced it has charged Andros Townsend in relation to alleged breaches of its rules governing misconduct and betting. The Tottenham Hotspur player has been charged with breaches of Rule E8 (b) in relation to a number of betting offences.”
The rule in question states that a “participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on the result, progress or conduct of a match or competition in which the participant is participating, or has participated in that season; or in which the participant has any influence, either direct or indirect.”
The 21-year-old Townsend tweeted about betting on the Championship play-offs earlier this month. If he pleads guilty to the charges, or is found guilty, then he could face a ban from the game or a fine.
Townsend, who has been with Tottenham since the age of nine, has long been earmarked for a bright future, having played for England at every level from Under-16 upwards, but has yet to make an impact at White Hart Lane. He has still to start a Premier League game for Spurs but shone in difficult circumstances after Harry Redknapp took him to QPR in January. Townsend played 12 times and scored two goals in Rangers’ unsuccessful battle against relegation from the Premier League. Having previously been on loan at Yeovil Town, Leyton Orient, MK Dons, Ipswich Town, Watford, Millwall, Leeds United and Birmingham City, his sparky performances at QPR had raised hopes of re-launching his career at Tottenham next season.
His withdrawal is a blow to England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce. He will be replaced in the squad by Nathan Redmond of Birmingham. The Southampton left-back Luke Shaw has also withdrawn from the finals in Israel through injury. Liverpool’s Jack Robinson will replace Shaw.