Sturridge Gets Four Month Football Ban

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been banned from football for breaching betting rules. The ban, which will last for four months, comes with a fine of £150,000. The player’s contract with Turkish team Trabzonspor has also been terminated early, through a mutual agreement. Sturridge posted a video in which he describes the FA appeal’s decision as “disappointing and upsetting”. Sturridge’s suspension from the game will be lifted on June 17th.

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Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been banned from football for four months. ©Mitch Rosen/Unsplash

FA Pushes for Stricter Punishment

Sturridge’s total football ban follows a successful appeal by the FA against his previous punishment for breaking betting rules. Last July, Sturridge was found guilty of giving his brother insider information on a possible move to Sevilla in 2018. While the move never actually took place, it was found that Sturridge had breached official rules on betting by offering this information.

Sturridge was then given a six-week ban, with four weeks suspended, and a fine of £75,000. However, the FA decided that this punishment was too lenient, and that the ban should be extended to six months. The FA challenged the judgment, with the backing of an independent appeal board, and was successful in increasing Sturridge’s ban.

Daniel Sturridge’s ban from football and any football related activity will now be extended until June 17th. On top of this, Sturridge will now have to pay twice as much as was originally ordered, with the fine being raised to £150,000.

The FA published a statement detailing its position on Sturridge’s case. It confirmed that it takes betting misconduct and inside information “very seriously”. It also noted that Sturridge’s suspension would be in effect globally until it is lifted at the end of June 17th 2020.

“Following an appeal by The FA of the previous findings of the independent Regulatory Commission in this case, an independent Appeal Board has found that the Regulatory Commission misapplied The FA’s Rules in relation to the use of inside information and made findings of fact which could not be sustained. As a result, the Appeal Board has found proven two further charges which were originally dismissed. Other factual findings of the Regulatory Commission were left undisturbed. In relation to the sanction, the Appeal Board agreed with The FA that the penalty originally imposed on Mr Sturridge was unduly lenient and therefore increased his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months. The Appeal Board also doubled the fine to £150,000.”

As a result of the suspension, Sturridge’s contract with Turkish club Trabzonspor has been mutually terminated early. Sturridge joined Trabzonspor last August, after his contract with Liverpool came to an end. During his time with the team, Sturridge made 16 appearances and scored seven goals. In a tweet, the team thanked Sturridge for his contribution to the club and wished him future success.

“My season is over and I am devastated. I don’t think it’s acceptable for me to accept wages from a team I can’t contribute to due to being banned. I’ve come to a mutual agreement with Trabzonspor to mutually terminate my contract.”Daniel Sturridge, Former Liverpool Striker

Sturridge spoke personally about the experience through a video he posted to social media. He described the FA’s case as “overblown and misconceived” and said that the final decision was “disappointing and upsetting”. Sturridge also said that he would continue to campaign against the issue.

“I just want to say it’s been a very long and drawn out process over the last couple of years and difficult to concentrate on my football… I’m going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and close friends freely, without the real risk of being charged. I feel the betting companies and the practice and process of people placing bets on players moving clubs has to be stopped.”

Over the course of his career, Daniel Sturridge has played for a number of high-level teams, including for the England national team. In the Premier League, he has played for Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion. He is the only player to have scored in the FA Youth Cup, FA Cup and the Premier League all in the same season.

Does Football Have a Gambling Problem?

Sturridge’s ban comes at a time when gambling problems are a hot topic in football. High profile campaigners such as Tony Adams are working to raise awareness of the prevalence of gambling addiction in the game. Describing it as an “epidemic”, Adams has cited the increasing number of footballers coming to his addiction charity, Sporting Chance, as evidence of a growing problem.

“Ideally I would get the advertising out of the game because it does influence people. They spend fortunes on the ads for a reason. It’s because it works. It normalizes it and that’s the issue I have got.”Tony Adams, MBE, Founder, Sporting Chance

Gambling advertising and sponsorship deals have been blamed for the growing crisis. Over the last few weeks a number of football clubs have dropped their gambling company sponsors. Most shockingly, Everton FC cut its deal with Kenyan gambling firm SportPesa short two years early. The deal was one of the most lucrative in the sport, estimated to be worth around £7 million a year.

Gambling addiction has been highlighted as a rife issue in football, but it is also becoming increasingly clear that it is a problem in rugby too. Wales hooker Scott Baldwin recently opened up about the shame he felt over his gambling problem. While he has now stopped altogether, it has been a lifelong struggle for the 31 year old.

“You just go online, sign into an account and just spin. I was like just literally tapping a button. That’s all it is, tapping a button waiting to see where the number lands. If you’ve got the number you win, if you haven’t you don’t. Ultimately I’d always lose and no matter how much I’d win, I’d always want more and I’d always know deep down whenever I won I’d always lose. Because when I had a big win, at some point getting that big win I was in a hole.”Scott Baldwin, Hooker, Wales National team and Harlequins FC

Baldwin also stated that he would be there to help any other player who wanted to talk about gambling issues. “Regardless of whether you’re a troublemaker when you’re younger, whether it’s gambling, whether it’s not hitting your targets or whatever, there’s always a way back from it… Any player, I would always be open if they want to message or get in touch with me, I’d openly speak to anyone about anything.”

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