While it would be trite to suggest that football has a gambling problem, many inside the game – including Joey Barton, most notably – have suggested that betting is a major issue.
Everton’s Yerry Mina is the latest high-profile player to breach the FA’s betting rules, however it should be noted that the central defender did not actually bet on the outcome of any matches – instead, he erroneously appeared in a TV ad for Colombian bookmaker Betjuego.
But it’s just the latest example of a professional footballer getting in hot water due to their involvement in betting, and Mina’s punishment comes just days after Leeds United youngster Jordan Stevens was banned for six weeks for also breaching the Football Association’s betting regulations, which state that nobody involved in the professional game or in Non-League is allowed to place a wager on the sport.
Communication Breakdown Blamed for Mina Mishap
Mina was fined just £10,000 for his ‘crime’, although when you learn the actual ins and outs you can see why.
The Everton defender appeared in the ad for Betjuego, which was broadcast in the Spanish language and shown only in Colombia.
The club’s spokesman said that Mina’s grasp of the English language is still ‘limited’, and he didn’t actually understand the rules outlawing players from getting involved in the betting industry.
The FA replied that their fine was ‘appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances’, although they accepted that there was mitigation that ‘significantly reduced’ Mina’s culpability.
The Colombian did not receive a penny from his appearance in the advert, donating his fee to his own Yerry Mina Foundation. And as soon as he realised he had made an infringement, he apologised and the ad was removed from broadcasts.
More Betting Breaches Provoke Concern
Many professional footballers make mistakes when they are just 19 years old.
And that is perhaps why the FA have been fairly lenient on Jordan Stevens, who was found to have made 59 bets during the 2018/19 season – including five involving his club Leeds.
A menial fine of £1,200 was metered out to the midfielder, although he has been banned from all football activity until October.
📰 | #LUFC acknowledge sanctions passed down by the FA to Jordan Stevens
— Leeds United (@LUFC) 10 September 2019
The Whites, however, were less than chuffed with the Football Association’s choice of punishment.
“To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such a critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player,” their chief executive Angus Kinnear said.
“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.”
Stevens staked just over £500 in total on his bets, which included twice betting on Both Teams to Score in Leeds matches in which he wasn’t taking part.
The youngster was said to be struggling to adapt to life at the Yorkshire club having moved there from Forest Green, with the club’s head of performance Rob Price noting that Stevens had suffered problems with anxiety and homesickness.