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Calls for Independent Study into Gambling in Scottish Football

by Glenn Baird - June 4, 2017

Following on from last month’s assertion made by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) that gambling is “rife” in Scottish football, Paul Goodwin, the co-founder of the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA) has called for an independent summit to investigate the problem.

Currently, Scottish football claims to have a no tolerance attitude towards gambling within the sport. However, the SFSA, a voluntary organisation set up by fans, designed to hold clubs and the footballing authorities accountable, believes that the current policy of self-regulation is not working.

A few days ago, a £3,000 fine was handed out to Annan Athletic Chairman, Henry McLelland for placing over 4000 bets, 430 of which involved his own club with 4 of those placed against the club , dating back to July 2011.
Goodwin’s request for an independent summit comes days after John Rankin, a footballer for Queen of the South and chief of the footballers’ union in Scotland claimed that “The majority are probably doing it.”

Rankin was responding to the controversy surrounding McLelland’s fine and to the new one year sponsorship deal that the Scottish Professional Football League have just signed with Ladbrokes.

Goodwin is concerned that there is a “lack of transparency” coming from Scottish footballing authorities. He highlights ever-expanding betting markets as potential pots of illicit gold, anything from team selections to transfers, for anyone working at football clubs. He also argues that McLelland’s fine was far too lenient and that gambling advertising has become ingrained within the fabric of the sport, asking if alternatives have been sought. He goes on to question the nature of current investigations, citing punishments as “arbitrary” and asks if “the same rules apply to all?”

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) currently provide gambling education workshops for teams in the SPFL and argues that the association takes its responsibility towards gambling seriously.