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#bofcon2017 – Joey Barton case puts the spotlight on betting integrity

The Commercial Director at AFC Wimbledon said that it is “naïve” to think that players aren’t still placing bets via surrogate accounts, despite the FA’s efforts to implement a blanket betting ban.

Speaking at Betting on Football 2017, Ivor Heller also promoted a return to the old system, whereby players can bet, but not in league or cup competitions in which they are directly involved. He said that by telling players they can’t bet, you are almost challenging them to find a way to do so.

Joey Barton was recently banned from all professional activity for 18 months for breaching FA Rule E8, which prohibits all players, referees, coaches and club officials from betting on ‘the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions.

Bill South, the Group Director of Security at William Hill, admitted that the Barton saga has provided “damaging headlines for the integrity of sport”, and maintained that all those involved in the sport must work together to prevent match-fixing on a global level, particularly at high-profile events.

La Liga Integrity and Security Director Alfredo Lorenzo suggested it was unlikely that the Spanish top flight would see a copy of the FA’s blanket ban, but called for the Spanish FA to allow La Liga contact with the referees, after describing players and referees as the “main actors” with the same level of vulnerability to corruption.

The session, which formed a key part of the first day Leadership Track at #bofcon2017, was moderated by ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali.

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