Too much of a risk
Online sportsbook Betway will no longer offer betting markets on soccer players transferring to different teams in any of its territories.
The sports betting site said it does not want to be a part of any activity that could be seen to violate any rules or regulations. It also called on other sportsbooks to make a similar decision to “[join] us in this ban”, helping to protect players without sacrificing too much profit.
a grey area which has caused issues in the past”
Alan Alger, head of corporate communications at Betway, announced the decision in a statement on Wednesday, as the English Premier League resumed post-lockdown activity behind closed doors. He said: “The FA have strict rules on betting and we feel that offering odds on players to move to specific clubs highlights a grey area which has caused issues in the past. It is best removed as an option.”
As there are hundreds of other types of soccer betting markets that Betway can offer, it is happy to shut down its transfer betting offering, the statement concluded.
FA’s strict stance on transfer wagering
The English Football Association (FA) adopts a strict stance on the sharing of any form of insider information by the players themselves or those who form part of a soccer club’s management team.
Rule E8 1(a)(ii) of the FA Handbook specifically states: “A Participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on 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.”
Notable incidents involving players
Alger noted that Betway was not one of the sportsbooks involved the recent high-profile scandals that saw two pro players exchanging insider information on their club transfers. He also echoed the brand’s belief that
Betting on football should be about what happens on the pitch.”
Former Liverpool FC and England striker Daniel Sturridge was initially banned from soccer activity for six weeks and got a fine of £75,000 ($93,410) for allegedly telling a family member to place a bet on him moving to Sevilla FC in 2018. The transfer ultimately did not go through, with Sturridge going to Trabzonspor in Turkey instead. After appealing the FA ruling, Sturridge saw his ban extended to four months and his fine increased to £150,000 ($186,820).
In May 2020, soccer player Kieran Trippier was hit with FA charges for alleged misconduct relating to his transfer to the Atletico Madrid club in July 2019. He has publicly denied any wrongdoing and has fully complied with the FA investigation on a voluntary basis.