Yerry Mina, a defender playing for English Premier League team Everton, has been fined £10,000 by the country’s Football Association for appearing in a TV advertisement promoting a gambling operator in his native Colombia.
Mina was featured in an ad for Colombian operator Betjuego that was brought to the FA’s attention in May this year. The player was then charged with a breach of FA Rule E8(3), which states that players under its jurisdiction are prohibited from advertising or promoting betting activity, in July.
Everton submitted evidence of mitigating circumstances, noting that the player has a limited command of English and was therefore unable to understand information on gambling-related restrictions when it was explained to him at an FA presentation.
Furthermore, it added, the advert was not shown outside Colombia, and was ultimately pulled from broadcast at the player’s request following the FA charge.
In addition, Mina did not personally profit from the ad, with his appearance fee intended to be given the Yerry Mina Foundation, a charity he set up in 2016 to help disadvantaged children in Colombia.
While the FA conceded that it was “an unusual case” and acknowledged strong mitigating circumstances, it felt that a warning alone was insufficient, given the seriousness of the breach.
Its regulatory panel decided that a fine was an appropriate punishment, though reduced the sum based on the mitigating circumstances. Alongside the £10,000 fine, the player was also warned about his future conduct.
In related news 19 year-old Leeds United midfielder Jordan Stevens has been handed a six-week ban and a £1,200 fine for betting on football. The player, who moved to the Championship club in February 2018, admitted betting on 59 matches between 6 August 2018 and 27 May 2019.
When contacted by the FA about the offences, Stevens admitted to wagering £510.12 via Sky Bet, of which 23 bets were placed on competitions in which Leeds participated, and five were on matches featuring the club itself.
This amounted to a breach of FA Rule 8(1)(a)(i) which prohibits players form betting, or having others bet for them, on any football match or competition.
While betting on matches against a player’s own team can incur a suspension of up to six months, the FA again took mitigating circumstances into account. It noted that the player did not participate in any of the games, and only wagered small sums.
However, it added, the fact that Stevens was fully aware of the FA’s betting regulations demonstrated a “wilful disregard” for the rules. As a result of his suspension, he will be unable to play, train or engage in any other football-related activity until 10 October.