Former Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge saw 9 of the 11 alleged betting breaches against him dismissed by an independent regulatory commission today.
Sturridge faces a six week ban and £75,000 fine for the two betting breaches he was ruled to have violated.
The FA is appealing the decision and pushing for a longer punishment.
What betting rules is Sturridge accused of breaking?
- Rule E8(1)(a) – a participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters.
- Rule E8(1)(b) – where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this Rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting.
At the time, Sturridge stated he “categorically…gambled on football.” Parsing that quote and the alleged violations, it seemed pretty clear a wager was placed around Sturridge’s loan in January 2018 to West Brom Albion or another rumored team.
What betting rules was Sturridge found guilty of violating?
And that’s basically what happened.
In January 2018, Sturridge completed a loan to West Brom Albion. Rule E8(1)(a) states that, “a participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly…or enable any person to bet on…the transfer of players…” Rule E8(1)(b) states that, “where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game…”
It’s reasonable given the timeframe to assume that Sturridge either intentionally or carelessly provided information of his transfer to someone who placed and won a large wager.
The independent commission confirmed this scenario as the case for his two violations:
Sturridge was accused of passing on inside information about his potential transfer moves away from Liverpool in January 2018 to close friends and relatives that was then used for, or in relation to, betting.
The commission found Sturridge guilty of two of the charges, which alleged he had instructed his brother, Leon, to bet on a possible move by him to La Liga side Sevilla.
Sturridge doesn’t deny he violated rules
Sturridge released a statement on the independent commission’s ruling. To his credit, he doesn’t necessarily deny that some rules might’ve been breached:
“I am pleased that 9 of the 11 charges were dismissed and that the panel found me to be an honest and credible witness, and that my actions on one particularly difficult day were out of character.
“The case was heard over 7 days by a distinguished panel, which resulted in a lengthy and carefully considered decision, and followed an extensive investigation by The FA. It is therefore extremely disappointing to hear that the FA will be appealing this decision.”– Daniel Sturridge on FA betting rules investigation
Why is the FA appealing the decision?
Most likely, the FA is appealing this because they’re concerned over the integrity of the game as it relates to betting, as they should be. While we don’t view the punishment as particularly lenient, if the FA does, that’s their prerogative. The want to set an example.
It appears as if Sturridge did pass along inside information. It also appears as if Sturridge did not make any wagers himself. Most importantly, it appears as if Sturridge did not make any wagers or pass any information as it relates to an actual game result or his or a teammates performance. That line in the sand — if crossed — is where things would hit the fan.
As much as Sturridge likely wants this to go away, the FA wants to set a precedent with a relatively high-profile figure to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
I don’t disagree with either of their stances.