Former England and Liverpool footballer Daniel Sturridge has been suspended from all football-related activity for four months for breaching the FA's gambling regulations, after his initial punishment was deemed too lenient.
In July 2019, Sturridge initially received a two week ban, plus a further four suspended, after the the independent regulatory commission found he had instructed his brother to bet on the player joining Sevilla in the January 2018 transfer window. This transfer never materialised.
However, the FA appealed the ruling, calling for both a stronger sentence for the breaches of which Sturridge, and for the commission to reconsider its dismissal of eight other charges.
The additional charges that were dismissed all concerned Rule E8(1)(b) of the FA’s rules.
This rule states that, “where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the pParticipant shall be in breach of this rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting.”
The commission dismissed a ninth charge as well, but this was not appealed.
While six of these appeals were rejected, the original decision to dismiss two of the charges were overruled. One of these charges alleged that Sturridge provided his brother with insider information about his transfer to Sevilla for the purpose of betting.
The independent appeal board noted that this charge was extremely similar to the already-proven charge that Sturridge had instructed his brother to bet on the transfer to Sevilla. The board determined that, given Sturridge’s instruction to his brother to bet on a transfer to to the La Liga side, other information provided about the transfer could be considered information to be used in betting.
The appeal board also found that Sturridge was guilty of providing insider information to Daniel Hemmings, a close friend of living in the US, concerning his eventual loan move to West Bromwich Albion.
Sturridge asked Hemmings to look up the odds of a move to West Brom, determining that 4/5 odds were “too short” but that the bet was “worth a flutter” at 6/4.
The regulatory commission had ruled that these were “throwaway remarks” and that Sturridge was merely looking into how the market would view such a move. However, the appeal board rejected this premise and said Sturridge, “knew exactly what Mr Hemmings was doing when he researched the odds and, just as importantly, why he was doing it”.
The board also doubled Sturridge’s fine from £75,000 to £150,000. As Sturridge already served two weeks of his suspension, it will end on 17 June. The ban will apply to all competitions sanctioned by global football governing board Fifa.
Sturridge’s club, Trabzonspor, announced today (2 March) they have terminated his contract by mutual agreement .
Image: Kevin Walsh