SEVEN AFC Fylde players are being investigated by the FA for betting offences.
It’s important to let that run its course and not comment specifically until the full facts are made public.
But make no mistake, football has a huge betting culture and it’s going to be very difficult to undo it all.
Joey Barton is a prime example after he was banned for betting offences. He’s had a very successful career and he will have earnt a lot of money. But the temptation will always be there.
The FA recently terminated their contract with their betting partner, but you can’t turn on football without Ray Winstone popping up at half-time telling you to have a bet. It’s everywhere – especially with technology these days. You can be on top of a mountain and place a bet.
When I was at Celtic it wasn’t football, but there was a huge betting culture on horse racing and the dogs – jaw-dropping money from some.
But lower down there is more chance of players betting because their weekly income is so much less. We all love an accumulator. You put a fiver on six results and on your betting slip it’s happy days. And it’s more than your weekly wage! You’re going to do it because you think you’ll never get caught.
Personally, I can’t see any harm in a Non-League player betting on the Champions League final. I agree it’s not right to bet on your own league because players will hear things about injuries and selection issues.
But betting in football is always going to happen and it has only got itself to blame. Clubs are sponsored by betting companies, so is the Football League.
Some players will need help too. If a player has got an alcohol or drug problem, the FA will look after you very well. If you turn around and say you’ve got a gambling problem I think players are scared they’re going to get in big trouble.
I guarantee there are footballers at all levels betting every weekend. You’d be naïve to think otherwise.