Stevens ban is excessive
19-year-old Jordan Stevens has been banned from all footballing activity by the FA after being found guilty of placing 59 bets, some involving Leeds matches.
The FA confirmed the ban and a £1,200 fine after Stevens admitted the offence and said he knew it was wrong.
Leeds immediately hit back with an official statement that said it was disappointed with the punishment.
Leeds chief Angus Kinnear said, “Whilst we fully recognise the importance of the FA’s role in protecting the integrity of the game, we are hugely disappointed in the FA’s choice of sanction.
“To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player.
“We are particularly disappointed that the sanction was determined by two former professional footballers who we hoped would have had a better understanding of the impact of their decision.”
It’s hard to argue with that. Stevens wasn’t looking to make serious money from insider knowledge – his bets totalled around £500 over 59 bets, less than £10 a bet.
He admitted he was wrong and said his friends had pressured him into placing bets. It was more a social thing than anything else and as BBC journalist Adam Pope pointed out, he has suffered from homesick and anxiety – cutting him off from football is hardly going to help him.
The ban means he cannot train or speak to any football staff. Seems very harsh as written reasons mention he has felt homesick & suffered anxiety. FA say Stevens, 19, was fully aware of the betting rules & that was the biggest aggravating factor. #lufc
— Adam Pope (@apopey) September 10, 2019
Banning him for competitive football is understandable and would have been enough. Banning him from training is potentially robbing him of his livelihood and just seems completely over the top.
Meanwhile, Everton’s Yerry Mina is fined just £10,000 for breaking betting rules by appearing in an advert promoting gambling, and clubs continue to take sponsorship from gambling giants.
The Championship is called the SkyBet Championship.
As ever, it’s the little guys that take the biggest hit.