Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend is in trouble, after breaching betting regulations.
The 21-year-old winger, who dazzled whilst on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season, has been given a four-month ban and handed a fine of over $28,000 for misconduct in relation to betting.
Townsend was called up to represent the England U-21 side in the European Championships this summer, but voluntarily dropped out when the allegations cropped up a few weeks ago.
Now an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing decided the ban: “Three months of the suspension is suspended until 1 July 2016 and will be automatically invoked upon a proven breach of The FA Betting Rules during that period.”
So what exactly has gone on here?
Well, judging from various reports, Townsend may have bet on games he was involved in during last season. That is strictly prohibited as he can have a direct influence on the outcome of bets and has left a cloud hanging over his career, after such a promising second half of the season at QPR.
Despite being just 21, Townsend has already embarked on nine different loan spells with nine different clubs since turning pro with Spurs in 2009. To me, this seems as if his character could be slightly tarnished. After so many moves to plenty of different clubs, he has obviously not been able to stick around somewhere for any period of time.
Despite all that, the length of the ban seems a little ridiculous. The four-month ban is okay. But the fact that he will serve only one month over the summer break, with it backdated to May 23, and the other three will only be added if he commits another betting offense between now and July 1 2016, seems a little lenient.
With FIFA’s new racism measures recently put in place, should leagues and clubs be cracking down more on the gambling habits of players?
Townsend’s offense obviously isn’t related to match-fixing or anything too sinister, but he has broken the rules and bet on soccer games. As a player, he knows that you can’t do that.