The Football Association (FA) is currently facing criticism over alleged double standards after an investigation held by the Guardian unveiled that the owner of an English Premier League (EPL) club may have drawn benefit from wagers placed on the game in his own name.
The revelations involve the owner of Brentford FC Matthew Benham. Currently, the club’s striker Ivan Toney is serving an eight-month ban for violating the gambling rules of the FA.
Mr Benham has been one of the few multimillionaire EPL club owners who have been taking advantage of their unclear arrangements with the Football Association. Under the arrangements in question, they are pretty much allowed to be involved in wagering activities. As reported by the Guardian, representatives of the media hub have seen evidence showing that Brentford FC’s owner has drawn financial profit from wagers on football placed in his own name via MSPP Admin, a UK-based gambling syndicate. Benham, however, claims that he was in line with all gambling rules of the country’s Football Association.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the UK football governing body does not allow anyone involved in football to place bets on any match, anywhere in the world, under the existing legal framework that has been specially designed to protect the integrity of the sport. Breaching these rules results in tough penalties for football players.
FA Unwilling to Reveal the Full Terms of Its Football Club Owners Agreement
Currently, the Football Association is being urged to reveal the full terms of its deal with the clubs’ owners. Apart from Brentford FC, other proprietors that are allowed to operate a betting business while owning a football club include the Coates family who owns Stoke City FC and the online gambling giant bet365, as well as Tony Bloom, the owner of Brighton FC.
So far, England’s football governing body has refused to provide full details regarding the exemptions given to some football club owners. The Association, however, has noted that anyone who has a significant interest in a football club is required to make sure they are not directly involved in gambling activities such as placing bets or setting odds.
However, evidence seen by the Guardian raises certain questions regarding the nature of Mr Benham’s involvement in wagers on football. Matthew Benham is MSPP Admin’s main funder and beneficiary – a small London-based firm that places wagers through private counterparties in the UK and Hong Kong in the name of people who want to take the other side of a bet. Reportedly, MSPP Admin had placed wagers on behalf of Mr Benham and a number of other individuals who remain unnamed. According to some evidence seen by the media hub, some of the bets are placed in Mr Benham’s own name.
On the other hand, separate evidence seen by the Guardian shows that the aforementioned MSPP Admin placed frequent wagers on football matches all over the world in his own company name. None of the fixtures were in the UK.
The Football Association updated its gambling rules back in 2014 to enhance the regime designed to protect the integrity of the game and prevent corruption in football. The football regulatory body came up with a policy that was specifically designed for gambling bosses who are also football club owners. The regulator, however, has refused to publish this policy on multiple occasions. So far, the FA has shared that stakeholders, including club owners and leagues, are the only ones who were eligible to see the entire document.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.