Potential Scandal as British Officials Investigate Widespread Soccer Gambling Allegations

on February 23, 2017

Fifty-three soccer players are being investigated for possible betting rules violations and one sports integrity expert says it is the “tip of the iceberg,” according to a story by the BBC.

The UK media company obtained a report by the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) through a Freedom of Information request that chronicled 53 incidents of players betting on matches between Aug. 1, 2014 and Dec. 23, 2016.

The complaints were being investigated and were not yet proven true, but the organization added it was also looking into additional separate transgressions uncovered by its’ own investigators.

Britain Soccer Gambling Soccer

Sutton United player, Wayne Shaw was forced to resign for betting rules violations after admitting he knew a betting company had 8-1 odds he would eat a meat pie on the soccer sideline, but denied placing a wager. (Image: BBC.Com)

The SBIU was formed by the Gambling Commission in 2012 to probe complaints relating to illegal wagering by anyone associated with a team, not just athletes.

Pie Slice of Bigger Problem

The news of the inquiries comes two days after a reserve goalie and coach, Wayne Shaw of Sutton United, was seen eating a meat pie on the sidelines during a Football Association Cup Match against Arsenal.

The snack wasn’t the problem. The issue was a local betting company offered 8-1 odds against him munching it on the bench and Shaw had knowledge of the proposition.

While the nicknamed, “Roly-poly goalie” called it a stunt, he denied that he placed money on it.

“A few of the lads said to me earlier on, ‘What is going on with the 8-1 about eating a pie?’ I said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve eaten nothing all day, so I might give it a go later on,’” he said to reporters after the match. “I thought I would give them a bit of banter and let’s do it. All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down. I went and got it at half time from the kitchen, I had it all prepared and ready to go.”

Shaw resigned from the team the following day, but continued to deny any wrongdoing.

‘There was no financial gain for myself or anyone I know, friends or family,” the 46-year-old told The Sun newspaper. “It was taken out of context, and it happened in the moment of the game. I wasn’t paid to do it, I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do it. It wasn’t done for personal gain. Just something to remember, and it certainly is that now.”

Culture of Gambling

The FA’s rule on gambling states: A participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, a football match or competition.

But according to former Frome Town Manager Nick Bunyard, the problem is rampant. Bunyard was given a three-year ban and fined a little more than $11,000 in November after placing 45 bets against his own team.

“Because betting culture in football is so rife, you get dragged along because everyone is doing it,” Bunyard said. “You think, ‘No one else is getting caught, so why would I?'”

Which is exactly the mindset the FA wants to change.

“This betting rule change to encompass all aspects of world football provides a simple, clear and straightforward message to all participants concerned, on where the line is drawn,” Darren Bailey, the FA’s director of football governance and regulation told the BBC.

 

Managers and players who have been accused of betting violations

Player                                              Club

Lewis Smith                                   East Thurrock

Martin Pilkington                           Ashton United

Martin Demichelis                         Manchester City

Jack Colback                                 Newcastle

Kyle Lafferty                                 Norwich City

Dean Brett                                    Cowdenbeath

Nick Bunyard (Manager)                Frome Town

Joey Barton                                  Burnley

Wayne Shaw                                Sutton United