Gary Lineker questions Leicester encouraging fans to bet on back of Tripper ban

Tom Petrini Leicester City FC

Gary Lineker pointed a finger at the Football Association and suggested they are targeting the wrong people when it comes to betting as clubs, such as his old team Leicester, can encourage fans to bet without consequence. 

Lineker was a vocal critic of Kieran Trippier’s ‘ridiculous’ ban after FIFA upheld the FA verdict to hand the England international a 10-week punishment for advising a friend by text message to ‘lump on’ his move to Atletico Madrid from Tottenham.

On Tuesday, Lineker was left bemused when Leicester City promoted Parimatch UK, their official betting partners, on the eve of their game against Chelsea with the social media post urging fans to ‘Back the Foxes’ in betting markets. 

Gary Lineker suggested it is 'worse' for clubs to promote betting to supporters than picking on individual players

Leicester put out a tweet encouraging fans to use their official betting partners to 'Back the Foxes'

Gary Lineker questioned whether it is ‘worse’ for clubs to promote betting markets to supporters than picking on individual players in wake of Kieran Trippier’s 10-week ban

Tripper was handed a 10-week ban worldwide after he was ruled to have breached Football Association betting rules regarding his move from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid

Tripper was handed a 10-week ban worldwide after he was ruled to have breached Football Association betting rules regarding his move from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid

Lineker questioned the difference between Trippier's case and Leicester's social media post

Lineker questioned the difference between Trippier’s case and Leicester’s social media post

‘Trippier gets a 10 week ban for telling his mates about an impending transfer, yet our football clubs, including the one I support, can have betting partners encouraging fans to lump on their games,’ Lineker wrote, including a thinking emoji. 

The Match of the Day presenter received a number of replies that said that what clubs are doing comes without guarantee whereas Trippier was in the knowledge that his move would go through and as such his friend would profit on any bets made. 

In response to one critic of his tweet, Lineker wrote: ‘I’m well aware of that, but in some ways it’s worse, encouraging your own fans to inevitably lose money in the long run.’ 

When fans pointed out Trippier had control over the outcome, Lineker said this felt 'worse'

When fans pointed out Trippier had control over the outcome, Lineker said this felt ‘worse’

The FA found Trippier guilty of four of seven alleged breaches of its betting regulations. All occurred in July 2019, around the time of the 30-year-old’s £20million move from Tottenham to Atletico. 

He was banned from all football and football-related activity until February 28 and fined £70,000. Atletico Madrid’s appeal was dismissed and the Spanish giants are now contemplating taking the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Trippier had denied all seven charges against him, which were first made in May. Three of them were dismissed after a personal hearing in October but the other four were found proven. 

In published evidence from the FA investigation, Trippier was found to have breached FA rules in a WhatsApp group chat with friends.  

On July 14, three days before his move to Atletico was confirmed, Trippier was asked by a friend: ‘Shall I lump on you going there (Madrid)?’ 

Trippier replied: ‘Can do mate.’

In one WhatsApp thread, Trippier was found to have told a friend to 'lump on if you want mate'

In one WhatsApp thread, Trippier was found to have told a friend to ‘lump on if you want mate’ 

In another exchange, Trippier told a friend the deal was almost done and the friend bet on the move happening shortly after - Trippier didn't appear to encourage a bet in that discussion

In another exchange, Trippier told a friend the deal was almost done and the friend bet on the move happening shortly after – Trippier didn’t appear to encourage a bet in that discussion

The friend continued: ‘100% Tripps?’. Trippier replied: ‘Yeah mate,’ before adding, ‘Lump on if you want mate.’ 

Atletico have been left incensed at the ban, which will see him miss nine games, while Lineker believes bookmakers ‘prey on the uninformed’ and should ‘stop offering odds on players moving’ so as to avoid others following Trippier into a ban.

Lineker said: ‘Ridiculous that he should have been punished. Ridiculous.

‘Can they tell their families they might be getting a move without having to warn them against betting? If bookies object then they should stop offering odds on players moving, but they won’t do that because they prey on the uninformed.’ 

Lineker’s strong stance against betting companies and their growing stranglehold on football is nothing new.  

Speaking to GQ in 2014, Lineker said he was becoming increasingly concerned at the visibility of betting around the game.

More than half of clubs currently playing in the Premier League and Championship are sponsored by gambling firms, including West Ham (pictured in action against Fulham)

More than half of clubs currently playing in the Premier League and Championship are sponsored by gambling firms, including West Ham (pictured in action against Fulham)

He said: ‘What worries me is all the betting advertising and sponsorship in sport. All you ever see is commercials for gambling and apps, it is really dangerous and I think we need to do something about both of them, alcohol and gambling.

‘Gambling is just too easy to do now and as a parent I worry about it, all those ads bombarding you with in-play betting.’

Many clubs generate millions from their official betting partners and  Premier League and Championship sides stand to lose £110million per year if a Government review of gambling, launched on December 8, leads to a ban on betting companies sponsoring football shirts.

Eight out of 20 clubs in the Premier League are currently dependent upon shirt sponsors from the gambling industry, which brings in around £70m. In addition, the EFL, clubs benefit from £40m in sponsorship and commercial arrangements with the league

In the Premier League this season, West Ham, Wolves, Burnley, Southampton, Leeds, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Fulham all have betting companies on the front of their shirts, while Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion have gambling firms on their shirt sleeves.

Betting Company Premier League Shirt Sponsors 2019/20
Club  Sponsor Value  (£m)
West Ham United Betway  10
Everton  SportPesa  9.6 
Wolves  ManBetX 
Burnley  LoveBet  7.5 
Crystal Palace  ManBetX  6.5 
Newcastle United  Fun88  6.5
Watford  Sportsbet.io  6.5 
Aston Villa  W88 
Norwich City  Dafabet 
Figures for 2019/20. Source: Statista     
In addition, clubs can earn further revenue by selling shirt sleeve sponsorship     
In the 2020/21 season, Leeds United are sponsored by SBOTOP, a deal reportedly
worth £6.5m a year. Fulham are sponsored by BetVictor. for an undisclosed sum. The club’s  previous shirt sponsor paid £3m annually. Southampton are sponsored by sportsbet.io after their £7.5m-a-year deal with LD Sports collapsed.
   

For the 2020-21 season, it was ruled in Spain that gambling companies would, for the first time, be prohibited from acting as shirt sponsors as the Spanish top flight clamps down on betting influence.  

Last year, a House of Lords Select Committee on gambling recommended that not only should shirt sponsorship be banned by 2023, but ‘there should also be no gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues’.

Currently betting company sponsorship includes, pitch side hoardings, partnerships and sponsorship of training kit.

Bookmakers are also still able to show television adverts during the build-up and post-match analysis on live televised sport. 

The long-awaited review of the 2005 Gambling Act aims to update legislation to provide greater consumer protection in the digital age, which has seen the losses of punters rocket to £14.4 billion per year in 2019. 

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