Joey Barton’s playing career ended early due to his betting ban, and as Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge awaits his fate for allegedly breaching FA betting rules the Fleetwood Town boss has called for a more modern approach to gambling in the game.
Barton was playing for Premier League side Burnley when he was found to have broken FA betting regulations and hit with an 18-month ban which was later reduced to 13. After serving his ban, the 36-year-old hung up his boots to take charge at Highbury
Now another Premier League footballer is facing a misconduct investigation which appears to centre on Sturridge’s move to West Bromwich Albion in January.
The 29-year-old (right) was charged on Monday with breaches in relation to rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and rule E8(1)(b)
Rule E8(1) forbids footballers to bet or assist others in betting on results or other football matters, while E8(1)(b) refers to passing on information which can be used for betting purposes.
And with many clubs now sponsored by betting companies, Barton says there needs to be a 21st century approach to betting in sport.
The Town boss told Sky Sports: “They have to revise their approach. The players that are getting exposed and banned for it are really the tip of the iceberg.
“There are a lot of people who have vested interests in promoting and advertising gambling. I just think it’s a problem when we ban something that is clearly a massive part of our game and then we start banning players for it.
“I’m not saying we should allow betting on games because it would probably hurt the integrity of the sport, but I think we need to be a bit more 21st century about our approach.
“I do think the rule here is a little bit too draconian, a little bit too hard-line. What difference does it make if a player in the Premier League is betting on the Brazilian Premier league? How can he influence that? The zero-tolerance approach is clearly always going to have casualties.”
In late January Sturridge opted to join West Brom as he was born in Birmingham and had family ties there, which was the main influence on his decision.
However, he made just six appearances for the Baggies in the second half of the season after injury sidelined him for two months.
Sturridge has until Tuesday evening to respond to the charge. If found guilty he could be fined or even suspended, depending on the severity of the breach.
A spokesman for Liverpool said: “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.”