Betting and Football: Why Players Aren’t Allowed to Wager on Games

Credit: Unsplash in collaboration with Lars Bo Nielsen

 

Football, or soccer, is one of the most popular sports in the world. In fact, with over 3 billion fans around the globe, it stands on the top of the pyramid, with no other games even coming close. Naturally, the result is that football gets the most amount of punters, out of any other sport.

 

With so many bettors, a lot of fans might wonder about the people involved with football. Isn’t it unfair if these people were allowed to wager on a sport that they are intimately involved with? Well, the truth is that, yes, it would be unfair. Which is why football insiders are not allowed to wager on the sport.

 

Football, Betting & Gambling

 

The Football Association, as well as FIFA, have made it expressly clear that players, managers, and pundits are not allowed to bet or wager on any football games. It isn’t just that they are not allowed to bet on games that they are involved in. They must not wager on any game, even if it is in a different league or country.

 

It is worth noting that this doesn’t mean that football insiders are not allowed to gamble or wager on other sports. Players are free to visit online casinos, which are becoming a lot more popular in 2024. Indeed, many football players have said that gambling is a passion of theirs, with Cristiano Ronaldo being among them. 

 

Poker, blackjack, even slots are all fair game if you are a football player. Footballers, and fans in general, can play them online at jokabet, which makes gambling a lot more convenient than it ever has been. Players are also free to bet on any sport other than football. Which begs the question; why can’t footballers bet on their sport?

 

Why Football Players Can’t Bet

 

Some may wonder why footballers and other sports insiders are not allowed to wager on the sport. The answer should be rather obvious here. It is because it might compromise the integrity of the game. For example, if a player from a certain club wagers on the club losing, said player could do everything in their power to make sure that his side loses the match. 

 

Similarly, because the football world is a pretty tightly-knit group, players, managers, and owners could conspire to fix matches in order to gain some kind of benefit. Therefore, the various football clubs and organizations that govern national and international football have agreed that those involved in the game are not allowed to wager on outcomes. This rule has been enforced worldwide, and a lot of people who’ve tried to subverted have paid the price.

 

What Happens When Players Try to Break the Rule?

 

There have been several examples of players and other football insiders who’ve been caught trying to break this rule. The most recent example is Sandro Tonali, an Italian player who is currently Newcastle United’s midfielder. Or rather, it is more accurate to say that he was the club’s midfielder until 2023, when he was banned from any competitive play due to gambling offences. 

 

Tonali is just the latest in a line of footballers who’ve tried to subvert the rules and make a little extra money on the side. Other examples of rule breakers include Ivan Toney, who in 2017 received a four-year ban, and a hefty fine for over 200 breaches of the rule, Matt Le Tissier, who was involved in one of England’s most prolific betting scams back in the 1990s, and Wayne Shaw, Sutton’s former goalkeeper, who got in a heap of hot water for his various gambling offences. 

 

Why Breaking the Rule is not Worth it

 

Breaking the rule is, of course, not something that should be encouraged. However, there are still many footballers who attempt to subvert the law and wager on their own games. In their eyes, an attempt to break the rule might result in some extra cash. But, there is a good reason why breaking the rule is absolutely not worth it.

 

Beyond the fact that it could result in a couple of years of downtime, and a hefty fine, the main reason that footballers should avoid breaking the rule on betting is because it could have career-ending consequences. After all, nobody would want to work with a player who knowingly and purposefully put his club in a losing position, for extra cash.