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.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.