Thursday, 18 July 2019

Daniel Sturridge: Former Liverpool striker banned for breaching betting rules

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been banned from playing football for two weeks and fined £75,000 after being found guilty of breaching betting rules.

Sturridge, 29, was given a six-week ban, four of which were suspended, and is free to play again on 31 July.

The Football Association says it will appeal against the dismissal by an independent regulatory commission of various charges alleging he passed on inside information over a potential transfer in January 2018.

In its submissions to the commision, the FA argued the player had used "cynical determination" to help betting by others and any sanction shorter than a six-month suspension "would wholly fail to reflect the gravity of the case."

Liverpool announced in June that Sturridge - who scored eight times in 26 appearances for England - would be leaving the club this summer at the end of his contract.

Reacting to the commission's findings, he said the past 15 months had been "very tough".

"I am pleased that nine of the 11 charges were dismissed and that the panel found me to be an honest and credible witness, and that my actions on one particularly difficult day were out of character," he said.

"The case was heard over seven days by a distinguished panel, which resulted in a lengthy and carefully considered decision, and followed an extensive investigation by the FA. It is therefore extremely disappointing to hear that the FA will be appealing this decision. I will continue to defend the case and the appeal.

"I am training hard and fully focused on the upcoming football season."
'Makes a mockery of the FA rules'

The commission found two of 11 charges against him were proved - that the former Manchester City and Chelsea forward had instructed his brother Leon to bet on a possible move to Spanish side Sevilla FC, and that he had given him inside information.

In a statement, the FA said it "respectfully disagrees with the regulatory commission's findings and will be appealing against the charges which were dismissed and the sanction which was imposed".

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch has said the ruling "makes a mockery of the FA rules".

In 2017, former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton was suspended from football for 18 months - later reduced to 13 on appeal - after he broke FA rules by placing 1,260 bets on matches in 2016.

Some of the charges against Sturridge which were dismissed alleged he had passed on inside information about possible moves to Inter Milan and West Brom.

In January 2018, he joined West Brom on loan until the end of the season.

When he was charged with misconduct by the FA in November 2018, a Liverpool spokesman said Sturridge had co-operated fully "throughout this process" and "stated categorically that he has never gambled on football".

Earlier this month, the striker made headlines when offering a £30,000 reward for the return of his missing dog Lucci.

Sturridge said he was "absolutely delighted" after the return of the Pomeranian, which disappeared during a break-in at his house in Los Angeles.

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