Daniel Sturridge is facing charges from the Football Association (FA) that he bet on football games. The Liverpool and England striker denies these allegations.
The FA has accused him of misconduct for allegedly placing bets in January, shortly after the winter transfer market opened.
Allegedly, he was behind bets on the transfers of managers and players. A third party appears to have placed the actual bets. This could lead to a long-term ban and a hefty fine, depending on how severe the incident is.
Early reports suggest that one of the bets in question was worth five figures. This bet was on Sturridge going on loan to Inter Milan during the winter transfer season. According to the Telegraph, the bet was made somewhere in the Midlands of England by a male of “modest background.”
Sturridge is from this area, and bookmakers suspected that insider information might have been involved. Although an Italian news outlet reported that the Sturridge loan deal to Inter was imminent, he went to West Brom a week later.
What happens next?
Sturridge has until 6 pm on November 20 to respond to these charges. A spokesperson for the Liverpool Football Club announced that the player denies the allegations.
The club’s press release said: “Daniel has given his full and unequivocal co-operation throughout this process and has assured the club he will continue to do so. Daniel has also stated categorically that he has never gambled on football. As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment.”
The striker was playing with West Brom on loan at the time of the incident. Previously a leading light for Liverpool, a combination of injuries and poor form led to his falling out of favor in Anfield.
He could play only six times for West Brom as a result of a troublesome hamstring injury. He is now back starring for Liverpool having partaken in each of their Champions League games so far in the 2018/2019 season. However, if the FA finds him guilty of these charges, he will be sitting on the sideline for another lengthy spell.
Footballers who gambled
One of the higher-profile incidents involving gambling by a player involved the outspoken Joey Barton.
Barton was suspended for 18 months in April 2017 after the FA discovered that he had placed 1,260 football bets over the previous decade. Following the sentencing, Barton went on to admit that he is struggling with a gambling addiction.
The ban effectively led to retirement from playing for the then 34-year-old. He is now managing League One side Fleetwood Town.
Barton did go on the offensive about the issue of footballers placing bets on the sport. He believes that gambling is “culturally ingrained” within football in England. He estimates that at least half of footballers are in violation of the FA’s betting rules.
The FA has continually been cracking down on this activity in recent years. In 2014 the association banned players in the top eight divisions in England for placing bets on football, no matter where the games are being held.
Barton did accept his punishment at the time of the sentence. However, he is adamant that many footballers are getting away with it.
Speaking with the Guardian, he said: “I think, and I’m being conservative, I think 50% of the playing staff would be taken out [banned] because it’s culturally ingrained. You’d have half the players out for sure.”
He went on to say: “I had to be sanctioned because I stepped out of the boundaries of the rules. So there’s no doubt about it, but the FA think I’m the only footballer who has ever bet on football ever. But the reality of it says that that is not the case. I’ve seen [it] with my own eyes.”