What are the Rules on Gambling Among Footballers?
By Space Coast Daily // October 27, 2023
Gambling is one of the most widely participated activities in the world. However, it is frowned upon by most sports bodies worldwide, whether in American Football, Golf, or Soccer.
In the most recent player-gambling blockbuster, players from prominent clubs were implicated, and are under investigation. Don’t worry, you don’t have to check the FIFA Code of Ethics to make sure you can bet on GG.bet options, as that is only for football professionals. In this article, we’ll highlight these issues, and the stance FIFA has taken on them.
Recent Player-Gambling Cases
Nicolo Fagioli and Sandro Tonali have recently been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. This is because both footballers were linked heavily to illegal gambling activities.
Nicolò Fagioli’s Case
Juventus midfielder, Nicolo Fagioli, has found himself in one of the most high-profile gambling cases in recent years. After reporting himself, the Italian was, expectedly, being investigated for illegal gambling by the Italian FA, and an Italian prosecutor. Stemming from the investigation, the FA handed him a one-year ban, which could be reduced to seven months, provided he attends treatment regularly for the remainder of the months. With this case still hot, many believe that Fagioli should have received a harsher ban.
The President of the FIGC (Italian FA) has been lenient on the player, expressing that players like Fagioli should receive more help than heavy punishment from the FA. He believes that many people suffer from the gambling “plague”, and therefore should be ushered into a phase of help rather than judgment.
Fagioli managed to rack up severe debt while in his gambling phase. Reports say that the total debt he owed was about £2.4m. The Italian player admitted that he received numerous threats from his illegal gambling platforms, who threatened to “break his legs” if he didn’t pay up. Admittedly, these debts kept him awake, and he says that he was just trying to make enough to pay up. In all his penitence, Fagioli maintains that he never bet on his own clubs; Juventus and Cremonese. This is perhaps one of the reasons why his punishment was not so harsh.
Sandro Tonali’s Case
Newcastle recently confirmed that Sandro Tonali was the subject of an ongoing investigation into illegal betting activity. The English club emphasized that the player was cooperating with the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the FIGC. Reliable sources last week broke that Tonali was involved in the same illegal betting activity that Fagioli was roped in. In a hearing in Turin, Italy, the midfielder admitted to betting on games that involved AC Milan, while he was still an AC Milan player.
If betting on football teams is a grave offence by players, gambling on your own team is regarded worse. This is because the players can take advantage of this bet to alter their performances and offset a win. That’s why all things indicate that Sandro Tonali’s punishment will be harsher than his fellow Italian counterpart, Fagioli. Reports have it that Tonali and his legal team will explore the chance of a plea bargain to reduce his ban and possible fine.
FIFA’s Position on Players Gambling
We’ve mentioned, several times in this article, that betting is a crime for players. However, what does FIFA explicitly say about it? Firstly, the rules which discuss gambling are in the FIFA Code of Ethics, which covers all officials, referees, match agents and players. Article 26 of the code states that these professionals are prohibited from betting, gambling, or doing any similar activity on anything related to football, directly or indirectly. It also prohibits the professionals from retaining any interest directly or indirectly in any betting-affiliated endeavor; companies, campaigns, ambassadorship, etc.
They are also not allowed to give any inside information to anybody bound by the same code of ethics, or any other person for that matter. The same Article 26 of the FIFA Code of Ethics stipulates that anybody suspected of violating this code can be subject to an investigation. If he’s found guilty, he can get a maximum of 3 years ban from football and a CHF 100,000 fine.
With that said, players are allowed to wager on other sports that don’t concern football. For instance, footballers can bet on Boxing, Tennis, etc., since they don’t have any influence or inside information about things before they happen. Although many have called for FIFA to place a total and comprehensive ban on player betting, it isn’t likely to happen.
FIFA’s stance on matters of gambling is severe. However, some still believe it’s not tough enough on the players who aim to take advantage of the privilege they have as footballers. While FIFA has done a good job thus far, it is necessary to maintain that stance and make examples of anybody who has violated the FIFA Code of Ethics on the matter. While Nicolò Fagioli’s punishment has been handed, it remains to be seen what fate Tonali will face. Most likely, however, a ban and a fine will be handed to the Italian player.