Leeds Midfielder Jordan Stevens Slapped With Six-Week Ban by FA For Violating Betting Protocols
Posted on: September 10, 2019, 03:07h.
Last updated on: September 11, 2019, 01:27h.
Leeds United midfielder Jordan Stevens was hit with a six-week suspension by the Football Association (FA) for violating the league’s betting regulations.
The 19-year-old, who joined Leeds from Forest Glenn in February 2018, faced damning allegations by the FA, including that he gambled on matches just two days after representatives from the league made a presentation to the team about the risks associated with betting.
Stevens is believed to have opened an account with Sky Bet, one of the largest online sports betting names in the UK, in August 2018, and to have bet on football matches from that time through May 2019. The player admitted to betting on nearly 60 games over that span, including five in which his club participated. But Leeds stands behind the midfielder, calling FA’s punishment unusually harsh.
Whilst we fully recognize the importance of the FA’s role in protecting the integrity of the game, we are hugely disappointed in the FA’s choice of sanction,” said Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear in a statement. “To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such a critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player.”
Since his arrival at Elland Road, Stevens has made one appearance for the club. The team plays in the EFL Championship, where it currently sits third with 13 points behind Swansea City and Charlton. The club’s record in six matches this season is 4-1-1. Online casino 32Red is the club’s official sponsor.
The Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC), which oversaw the investigation into Stevens’ betting activities, notes that his wagers totaled a mere £510.12 (about $628), a small amount considering he’s charged with placing 59 bets. That means his average wager in US dollars was just $10.65.
Two of Stevens’ bets on his club involved propositions, in this case, both teams scoring twice, according to the BBC.
Still, FA saddled the up-and-coming footballer with a fine of £1,200 (almost $1,480), or more than double the amount he allegedly wagered. Stevens is under contract with Leeds until June 30, 2020 and the club has an option to pick up a third year on his deal.
News of his betting habits broke in early August. But Stevens joined his team for exhibition matches against Manchester United and the West Sydney Wanderers in Australia.
At that time, Leeds said, “Jordan has been fully cooperative with the club and the authorities since the incident was brought to our attention, and we can confirm that he will accept the charge.”
The IRC said it unanimously voted in favor of sanctions against Stevens, something Leeds found perturbing, given the makeup of the commission.
“We are particularly disappointed that the sanction was determined by two former professional footballers who we hoped would have had a better understanding of the impact of their decision,” said Kinnear.
According to an FA filing obtained by Casino.org, the former players on the IRC likely are former English Premier League competitors Stuart Ripley and Udo Onwere, the latter currently a lawyer.
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