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New Rules for English Footballers: Betting Ban Comes into Effect this August

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The worldwide wagering ban is the Football Association’s new strategy for preventing corruption among its players.

With all the match and spot-fixing scandals that hit the papers over the past year, members of the English Football Association (FA) have decided it was time to set up new rules and regulations to prevent football corruption.

As of August 1st, players from the top 8 tiers of the English football league system will not be allowed to bet on sports in England anymore. Under current regulations, the ban only applies to competitions their teams are participating in; but the new ones extend to any football match taking place anywhere in the world.

Caught red-handed

New FA regulations:

•no betting on any matches
•no betting on player transfers
•players can’t promote betting companies

For some people, rules are made to be broken. Newcastle’s Dan Gosling and Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, for example, found it difficult to obey the rules even back when they were more indulgent. The two footballers were among the many players who had faced disciplinary action after being caught placing wagers on matches their teams participated in.

The idea of introducing a stricter ban for players and League personnel goes back as far as 2009, when Lord Triesman, who was chairman at the time, proposed changing the regulations. His proposal was disregarded and it looks like the decision has come back to bite the FA.

The association has dealt with many cases of betting corruption over the past years, having little success at eradicating the problem. Meanwhile, the damage has been done and the image of English football has suffered a lot.

A wave of investigations

Some players and managers have come forward and confessed on their own, but a series of investigations conducted by the Telegraph has revealed the corruption goes way deeper. A wave of match-fixing charges followed, as names of players involved kept coming to light.

Breaching moral conduct is one thing, but breaking British gambling laws or fixing football matches is a serious offense. Back in April, 13 footballers were arrested by the police and rumors started to spread that this was slowly turning into the biggest football corruption scandal in years. While players denied the accusations, the FA decided to launch its own investigation and set new rules.

Authorities have even suggested offering incentives for those who confess or report any suspicious actions they’ve noticed. Officials promised reduced sentences for anyone revealing crucial information, which could get to the bottom of things.

Zero tolerance policy

It was only after Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore confessed to breaching the regulations that the FA realized it was really time to reconsider the rules and impose tougher standards. Starting this August, there will be new, stricter rules, with the ban extending to all football competitions worldwide.

And it’s not just about betting on the outcome of a game. The rules also apply for wagers on transfers or new managers, both being internal matters which players might have knowledge of. The FA established it would be unethical for League personnel to use this information to their advantage.

While the idea is to stop League members from wagering money on games they can somehow influence, some believe the regulations will have the opposite effect and that the number of rule-breakers will increase.

But officials have also warned players and League employees that disciplinary measures will be much stricter than before. Details have not been revealed yet, but the FA is clearly trying to send out the message that there will be zero tolerance for any action threatening the integrity of the game.

No more promoting bookmakers

While forbidding players from betting on matches they play in seems only fair, the FA is trying to see the bigger picture. If footballers can’t bet on any games, they’ll have fewer debts to pay off. At least, some say that’s the logic behind it all. This way, League members will be less vulnerable to match-fixers.

When the ban comes into effect, players will not be allowed to personally promote betting operators anymore. Clubs and football organizations can still sign sponsorship contracts with a bookmaker, but players themselves cannot associate their image with a specific company.

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