“All I want to do is play football” – How gambling is impacting the sport

The football world is well aware of the problem that gambling poses. The betting industry is deeply impacting all levels of the game.

You just need to look around to notice how prominent gambling is in the sport. Seven current Premier League clubs have betting companies as their kit sponsor and the problem trickles all the way down to grassroots level.

In October 2020, the FA were forced to deal with nine different incidents of misconduct in relation to betting – many of whom are not even in the top six divisions of English football.

Three of the nine cases are affiliated with Bowers and Pitsea FC, a club that competes in the Isthmian League – a regional league covering Greater London and South East England. The culprits were a player of the side, an assistant manager and even the club secretary.

The nine cases in the month of October accumalted a total of 4,105 bets between them. Of the five completed cases, a total of £6,160 in fines was induced – ranging from £100 to a staggering £4,100.

The FA rules state that anyone working in football must not bet on any matter regarding the sport, and they mean anyone. In July 2020, the senior gardener for Arsenal was given a six month suspension and a £750 fine for the 562 bets he placed.

Karnell Chambers, a 23-year-old non-league winger was handed a five month ban and a £75 fine earlier this year. “Going through an FA ban is very difficult because all I want to do is play football,” Chambers said.

“Not being able to train and play for five months is so hard because there’s nothing like match fitness – keeping fit by myself is very difficult.”

Unfortunately, gambling still lingers around football, to the disgust of many. It has always been issue, but maybe more so now than ever. The impact of betting can make serious changes on anyone involved in the beautiful game.

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