According to a statement by the English Football Association, soccer star Paul Scholes is facing charges of betting misconduct.
The statement reads: “Paul Scholes has been charged with misconduct in relation to the FA’s betting rules. It is alleged he placed 140 bets on football matches, contrary to FA rule E8, between August 17, 2015 and January 12, 2019. He has until April 26, 2019 to respond to the charge.”
The four-year period covers the time when Scholes had part-ownership of non-league team Salford City and before he became the Oldham FC manager in February 2019.
When he took up the managerial role, he stepped down as a director of Salford, but still had a 10% stake in the club. He was given the green light by the FA to take up the reins at Oldham despite this ownership stake.
Just 31 days after taking over Oldham, he stepped down due to the “untenable” position he was in. This was after just seven games (winning only one) and was largely down to interference by the club owner.
As per the FA rules, those participating in games are not able to place bets on: “the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition”.
They cannot even place bets on any events relating to football globally, including on the likes of team selection, appointments of managers and player transfers. They cannot tell other people to place bets on their behalf either.
Who is Paul Scholes?
Paul Scholes is a legend of English soccer. Now 44 years old, he was one of the best mid fielders in the game. During his career, he played only for Manchester United, making 499 appearances for the senior team, scoring 107 goals.
His time in the senior team at United came in two spells. He played from 1993 until 2011, before announcing his retirement. However, he returned to the team in 2012 and played in a further 33 matches before retiring for good in 2013.
Scholes played for England 66 times between 1997 and 2004, scoring 14 times. In 2015, he was the caretaker manager of Salford City and in 2019 he was appointed as manager of Oldham, but lasted only 31 days before stepping down.
Many top players have said that Scholes was the best central mid fielder of his generation. He was part of the famous youth team in the early 1990s at Manchester United, which included David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt.
During his time at United, Scholes won 11 English Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, five Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup. In 2008 he entered the English Football Hall of Fame.
Problems with gambling in football
Many professional footballers have been on the wrong side of the authorities as a result of gambling on games.
Paul Merson is one of the recent high-profile cases of professionals who are gambling addicts. The former Arsenal and England player has had struggles with drugs, drink and gambling for many years. During a recent television show, he spoke about how he had once more fallen back into problem gambling.
A current player who got on the wrong side of the FA for a gambling issue was Liverpool player Daniel Sturridge. An allegation was made that he was getting other people to place five-figure bets on his behalf on football transfer markets. The FA investigated to see if Sturridge was using inside information to profit from player transfers.
Part of football culture
Joey Barton has long been a controversial character in English professional football. He was suspended for 18 months by the FA in April 2017 for gambling offenses. They found that Barton was responsible for making more than 1,250 bets on football matches.
The suspension effectively brought his football career to an end. Barton admitted he was wrong. However, he did say that there is a culture of gambling that is deeply ingrained in professional football.He said:
“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 thinks 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.”
Other high-profile players who had struggles with gambling addiction include ex-German international Didi Hamann and former Premier League player Matthew Etherington.