Sam Allardyce, the England national football team coach, has ended his association with My Club Betting following allegations about the owner of the betting operator.
Allardyce became a brand ambassador for My Club Betting in July 2015, and also held shares in the company.
However, the former Sunderland and West Ham United manager decided to quit his role and relinquished his shares after a report in the Sun newspaper made allegations about the firm’s managing director, Neil Riches.
It is claimed that Riches had overseen a similar venture with a company called Worldlink, which was liquidated in 2012. The Sun report alleged that while investors lost up to £4 million (€4.6 million / $5.2 million) when Worldlink folded, Riches paid himself a bonus of more than £1 million.
Allardyce told the Sun: “The reason I joined My Club Betting was because I am so passionate about grassroots sport. We want to give our youngsters the best chance to do well in whatever sport they choose and the idea of this company is that 20% of the profits go towards that cause, which is very close to my heart.
“But I had no idea about the background to the company which has been revealed by this investigation. In view of the revelations about Worldlink I cannot continue to promote the My Club Betting site and I will be giving up my shares.”
It is understood that even before the allegations about Riches came to light, the Football Association was assessing whether it was appropriate that Allardyce should retain his position with My Club Betting.
My Club Betting allows football, rugby and other clubs to have their own customised betting site. The team’s members bet through the individual team’s service and 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenues return to the respective team or club.
Related article: My Club Betting scores major deal with Wales Rugby League