‘Blackmailed’ English Soccer Manager Who Gambled $1M Unpunished by FA
Posted on: September 15, 2023, 03:15h.
Last updated on: September 15, 2023, 05:54h.
An unnamed English pro soccer manager embroiled in an alleged blackmail case will not be sanctioned by the Football Association (FA), The Athletic reports. That’s despite court documents showing that he gambled £879,000 ($1million) across two years, losing £270,000. This included bets on his own sport.
The news has raised eyebrows because it contrasts with the recent punishment meted out to Brentford and England striker Ivan Toney for gambling on soccer games.
Toney, 26, was banned from pro soccer for eight months after admitting to 232 breaches of FA betting rules, a penalty that many viewed as harsh.
The manager’s identity is protected by a court order that was handed down shortly before the blackmail case was to go to trial last year. The manager had accused two professional footballers, Alan Rogers and Steven Jennings, of extorting him. Both men denied the charges,
But the manager dropped the case last year, stating that he “just wanted to get on with his life.”
The judge in the case said that he was concerned about the manager’s welfare after reading his submissions to the court. The manager is a self-confessed gambling addict who had “excluded himself from mainstream gamblers” in an effort to change his life, according to court documents seen by The Athletic.
The judge recorded not-guilty verdicts against both ex-players.
Rogers, who played for Nottingham Forest and Leicester City, has said publicly that he never met the manager and intends to sue him for legal costs and damages,
“I’ve never met this fella, never spoken to him, never been in his company, never been in contact, and somehow I’ve been dragged into his gambling addiction,” he complained to The Athletic outside the courtroom in September 2022.
Hamstrung by Court Order
The Athletic speculates that the FA has been hamstrung by the court order granting anonymity because sanctioning the manager would reveal his identity, and so it opted to wash its hands of the matter. But it opens the governing body up to accusations of presiding over an uneven disciplinary process.
Since 2014, FA rules have prohibited players – and anyone involved in the running of a professional soccer club – from gambling on games globally, as well as on any matter related to soccer, such as player transfers.
Previously, players were simply prevented from betting on games in which they or their team was directly involved.
The manager is not believed to have bet on games that his team was involved in, but Toney did. The Brentford striker placed 13 bets on his own team to lose, although he was not directly involved in these matches, according to FA. When betting on games he did play in, he always backed his team to win.
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