Bets placed over six years
Wally Downes, manager of AFC Wimbledon, has been suspended from first-team duties at the soccer club after being charged with betting offenses.
The 58-year-old is facing eight charges relating to betting misconduct from the English Football Association (FA). Downes has until October 4 to reply to these eight charges, according to an FA spokesperson.
period includes his first seven months as manager of AFC Wimbledon
These offenses date back as far as six years. Downes has been accused of betting on eight soccer matches between November 30, 2013, and July 12, 2019.
This period includes his first seven months as manager of AFC Wimbledon, as well as his stint as a coach in the Indian Super League.
Struggles at the club
Downes was already on rocky ground prior to this suspension, as AFC Wimbledon have been struggling with him at the helm.
Downes has also found himself in the spotlight for another off-field matter. He had to issue an apology after homophobic tweets he made in the past came to light when he took over after Neal Ardley left by mutual consent.
Downes, a midfielder for the club during the 1980s, took charge in December 2018. He managed to steer the team away from relegation thanks to goal difference.
The club released a statement saying that Downes has been suspended immediately due to the serious nature of these allegations.
The statement said that the club and the board will
look at the allegations more closely and make a further announcement in due course.”
Assistant manager Glyn Hodges will be the main man in charge for the team’s next match against Peterborough on Saturday afternoon.
The club’s board will not just be relying on the FA’s investigation. It has said that it will be launching its own independent investigation into the matter.
Issues with gambling in sport
There have been numerous issues in recent years relating to insiders gambling on the sports they are involved in.
High-profile soccer players like Joey Barton, Paul Scholes and Daniel Sturridge have all been penalized by the FA for betting rules breaches. Barton believes that betting in professional soccer is systemic.
Speaking told The Guardian: “I think, and I’m being conservative, I think 50% of the playing staff would be taken out [banned] because it’s culturally ingrained. You’d have half the players out for sure.”
Most recently, Welsh rugby union assistant coach Rob Howley was sent home from the World Cup over betting misconduct allegations.