In one of the craziest stories to come out of the English lower-leagues in recent years, League Two Accrington Stanley have had their managing director banned.
Robert Heys has breached 735 betting rules and the English Football Association have stopped Heys from being involved in the game for 21 months.
Heys committed the offenses over a 10-year period and was also fined $1,500. 231 of the illegal bets he made were on his own Accrington team and 37 of those bets were on Stanley to lose.
Heys has apologized and professed his desire for the club.
“Anyone who knows me personally will know that I only ever want a win for my team,” Heys said. “This has always been the case and, on occasions when I have very occasionally bet against my club over the last 10 years, I would always have been very happy to lose the stake and take the result.”
Heys goes onto say he hasn’t recently placed a bet on an Accrington game and accepts that his actions were irresponsible. But shockingly Heys believes the 21-month ban is “severe and inappropriately harsh”. The MD plans to appeal against the ban.
“I fully intend to appeal against the excessiveness of the penalty in an effort to get it reduced so that I may work towards resuming my career within the football industry.”
Should he really be allowed to continue working in soccer after this ban is over?
Yes, he didn’t win huge money or make any huge financial gain out of it, so we’re told. But the fact that directors and other people running soccer teams are making these kind of wagers does make me slightly nervous that more is going on behind the scenes than we think.
The overwhelming majority of people running soccer clubs love their team and would never do anything to jeopardize their role or the clubs good name. However, there has been a mini outbreak of betting bans in the English game of late. With Tottenham winger Andros Townsend and Stoke City striker Cameron Jerome both fined and disciplined for betting on soccer games.
Some would say the English FA is taking the hard approach with his. But you have to. Otherwise, it will get out of hand very quickly.