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France’s LFP sanctions footballers for breaching betting ban

| By Robert Fletcher
Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), the governing body for football in France, has issued sanctions to 35 players for breaching a ban on sports betting.

The LFP’s disciplinary committee announced the sanctions after the players were ruled to have violated LFP and French Football Federation (FFF) regulations during the 2021-22 season.

Both the LFP and FFF have in place a blanket ban on professional players betting on football. The ban applies to French players and footballers from overseas playing their club football in France.

This was the fourteenth occasion sanctions were issued since the LFP began working with national gambling regulator l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) in the 2013-14 season. LFP did not disclose each individual breach of regulations.

Suspensions and fines 

Among the highest profile names on the list of sanctioned footballers was Wahbi Khazri, a Tunisian international who players for Montpellier in Ligue 1. Khazri was ordered to pay a fine of €3,000 (£2,562/$3,262) for his breach of regulations.

LFP Montpellier FC flag
Wahbi khazri of montpellier FC will pay €3,000 for betting offences

Nantes midfielder Ludovic Blas was also among the sanctioned players. Blas, who has made more than 235 appearances playing across Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, was handed a €2,000 fine.

Mathis Ansar of Chamois Niortais, which in the 2022-23 season was relegated from Ligue 2, was handed the toughest sanction. Ansar will serve a three-game suspension, with a further three-game ban suspended, as well as pay a fine.

Souleymane Cisse, Antoine Dana and Evan Huriez will be suspended for two games, with further four-game bans suspended. Each player will also pay a €500 fine.

Two-game suspensions, plus a suspended two-game ban and €1,000 suspended fine, were issued to another seven players. These included Kevin Boma, Djibril Lamego, Eliot Pasture and Alexandre Moliner.

All sanctions will be effective from 27 June.

Ivan Toney ban

The sanctions come after the English Football Association recently handed a length ban to Premier League player Toney.

The striker, who plays for Brentford, was initially banned for 11 months after he admitted 232 breaches of FA rule E8. This rule prohibits players, coaches and club employees from placing bets on football matches around the world.

However, this was rounded down to an eight-month ban after he was officially diagnosed with a gambling addiction.

Revealing details about the case, the FA’s Regulatory Commission said 50 of the breaches were “the most serious” of the total offences. These included 16 bets on his own team to win and 13 bets on his own team to lose.

A total of 15 bets for Toney to score and six bets for others to score were also among the most serious.

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