Uh-oh, Stoke City’s Cameron Jerome found guilty of betting offenses

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Another Premier League player has been found guilty of breaking Football Association betting rules, this time Stoke City forward Cameron Jerome is in trouble.

Just months after Tottenham winger  Andros Townsend was fined and banned after being found guilty of betting offenses, Jerome has gone down a similar path.

While in League Two, Accrington Stanley’s managing director Robert Heys has also been charged.

So, what is going on?

Both Jerome and Heys were charged with breaches of the FA’s rules “in relation to a number of betting offenses”.

Jerome, 26, will now face a hearing on a date still to be determined. It is understood that his offense are not linked to match fixing or betting on games he played in. But the most likely offense is that he bet on other teams games, which is strictly prohibited. Jerome isn’t thought to be in as much trouble as Townsend, but he has reportedly bet on teams who were playing in a cup competition he had played in himself earlier last season.

Stoke City had this to say: “Jerome accepts the FA charges made against him in relation to breaches of its betting rules. Cameron has admitted the charges and will in due course attend an Independent Regulatory Commission, at which he will be supported by the club.”

In and around soccer in the UK, a huge betting culture is thriving.

Every single game sees multiple advertising boards with different betting companies offering the latest live odds on electronic boards on the side of the pitch. Accumulator bets are the highlight of many peoples weekends, as they pick 5-10 teams and put small amounts of cash on, trying to win big if all there selections come in. And from League Two to the Premier League, billions are spent in predicting scores and backing teams to win.

(MORE: Andros Townsend handed hefty ban after betting scandal)

This is not a problem. For fans it adds excitement and small wagers here and there keeps games like Torquay vs. Northampton Town (no offense) interesting for the neutral.

But when players and directors start getting involved in the gambling, eh, that becomes a bit iffy. Yes, they may have not known all the rules and aren’t trying to fix games or make huge sums of money. But the rules are there for a reason, Jerome knows he was in the wrong. He isn’t the first Premier League player to be caught doing this, and he probably won’t be the last.

I’m not saying there’s a huge match-fixing scandal set to rock English soccer. Because there isn’t. But there is a strong gambling culture in English soccer, fed by the huge companies who are raking it in from advertizing in and around the game.

After all this, the English FA’s tough stance on gambling should be applauded. The Italian FA and others around the world shout sit up and take notice.

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.