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Port Vale defender suspended for betting violation

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
Port Vale FC defender Mitch Clark has been given a suspended three-month ban and £600 fine for a betting violation.
Port Vale

The League One player was hit with the enforcement action after an Independent Regulatory Commission ruled he had breached the Football Association’s (FA) betting rules.

Clark admitted placing 312 bets on football matches while playing for Accrington Stanley between February 2022 and March 2023.

The FA instigated disciplinary proceedings against Clark on 9 May 2023. This was for misconduct under FA rule E1.2. The FA also alleged that each bet placed made up a separate breach of rule E8, regarding betting conduct.

The FA’s rules prohibit players from betting on any aspect of the game, particularly if it involves their own team.

Clark bets on own team to lose

While almost all of Clark’s bets involved other teams, on one occasion the player bet on his own team to lose.

The Commission noted that such an action usually resulted in a ban of six months to life. However, in this case, the panel decided to issue a lower penalty because the bet was only made once. In addition, it was part of an accumulator bet and the amount was low.

The Commission emphasised that Clark did not play in this particular game and that it had not been suggested that the bet or his conduct influenced the integrity of the game.

“Overall, in the panel’s opinion, there was no evidence of the defendant showing a particular proclivity or consistent intent to target his team losing in his betting activity, or any indication that he had sought to attempt to influence or bring about a negative result for his team,” said the Commission.

The regulatory body opted to suspend the three-month ban for two years, pending any more violations of the FA’s betting rules.

Ivan Toney suspension

In May, the English FA issued an eight-month ban to Brentford striker Ivan Toney after ruling that he violated its betting rules.

The FA booked Toney for 262 breaches of the rules over a four year period.

Later that month, it was revealed that the initial sentence had been reduced from 11 months after the player had been officially diagnosed as a gambling addict.

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