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.
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.