Can Managers Bet on Sports?

One of the best baseball players of all time, Charlie Rose, might never step into the hall of fame. So what did Charlie do? Surprisingly, the legend’s biggest mistake happened when he was a manager, doing something nearly all managers in the sports worlds can’t do: bet.

Charlie’s baseball records are so phenomenal that everyone agrees he’s a bonafide legend and a candidate for the Hall of Fame. Yet, because of his decision to bet on his team (to win), he’s been treated as a villain since 1989.

Across Britain and Ireland, things are not so different. Football managers and players have contracts that bar them from participating in any form of sports betting.

The FA Rules

The Football Association is precise on everything related to gambling that managers can’t do. Here are some of these things:


  • Worldwide Ban on Football Matches


Not only can’t managers in the UK bet on Premier League, Scottish League or Championship games but they also can’t wager on football games across the world. What’s more, they can’t do it indirectly by giving someone money to bet on their behalf. 

The ban also applies to players and carries strict penalties. Former England midfielder Joey Barton, for instance, got banned for 13 months for breaking the rule back in 2017.

To expound more on the prohibitions, players can managers can’t bet on football no matter how genuine their intentions are. For example, they can’t bet on their teams to win. Of course, that’s better than backing your team to lose. But managers are prohibited from making all sorts of bets.


  • Betting on Events like new Signings


Football managers can’t bet on events related to the beautiful game for one crucial reason: they have inside information. Precisely, they get to know about injured players or targets the club wants to hire before the information is released to the public.

And for that reason, allowing managers to gamble on football events would ruin the game’s integrity. In fact, they also can’t pass down inside information to none club officials because they would be aiding in illegal bets.


  • Match Fixing


Match-fixing goes hand in hand with gambling, so it’s only logical that the FA bans managers from aiding in any form of the act. In fact, the FA treats match-fixing as a more serious offence than betting on a regular football game.

What’s more, having knowledge of match-fixing and failing to report it can also attract penalties for managers and players. The ban can be anything from a one-year ban from all football activities to lifetime banishment from management.

Can Managers bet on non-football Games?

Yes, footballers can bet on sports they can’t influence. They can wager on horse racing, cricket, rugby, basketball or ice hockey. A few EPL players have come out clean about their love for gambling. And because they wagered on none EPL games, they never got punished.

Crucially, managers and players can also bet on casino games. Burnley’s Phil Bardsley, for example, has been pictured playing at a casino before. Unfortunately, his Sunderland manager back then didn’t approve of it and fired him.

However, Juventus legend Gigi Buffuoni has had numerous partnerships with poker companies. A lot more players bet on online casinos to avoid the media’s attention as Burton once admitted.

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FIFA’s expanded anti-Gambling Rules

For starters, FIFA prohibits managers, players and match officials from all the things the FA bans managers for. As such, international head coaches and players representing their countries are also barred from gambling of any kind.

 FIFA’s rules are stricter, though as you’ll see below:


  • Lotteries Related to Football


Lotteries are generally exempted from the list of things British managers and players can’t participate in. But FIFA makes it clear that officials can’t buy lotteries if they have anything slightly related to football.


  • Investing in Gambling Businesses


Although footballers are increasingly signing endorsement deals with betting companies, they can’t own them while still active. The same applies to managers and match officials. Managers also can’t get involved when their clubs are brokering deals with gambling sponsors.

Breaking this rule comes with a fine of CHF 100,000 or more. It also attracts a football ban of no more than three years from all things related to the beautiful game. Of course, they will also need to pay back any money they might have received while breaking the rule.


  • Manipulating Football Matches


This is similar to the FA’s anti-match-fixing rule. Managers can’t help influence the outcome of a game in exchange for money or gifts. They can’t omit players from their lineups or direct their players to lose.

Of course, FIFA doesn’t care who approached who if there’s a plan to manipulate a game’s outcome. If a manager is approached, they should reject the offer and report the matter. Failing to do so can also put them into trouble.


  • Offering and Accepting Gifts


This seems obvious but managers aren’t allowed to give out gifts or accept offers from gambling businesses. The reason is to protect the game’s integrity. Without this rule, a manager could easily accept an expensive gift from a bookmaker. 

And out of feeling guilty or wanting to pay back a favour, they could end up manipulating a game. They might not get to that extent, but the managers could be arm twisted to revealer insider information in exchange for gifts. And in doing so, they would be destroying the game’s integrity.

To Conclude

When it comes to gambling and football management, the two don’t mix, at least not where the head coach is concerned. Not only can’t they bet on their team to lose but they also can’t back their players to win. It’s illegal and can attract hefty bans. Players also have to follow these rules. Otherwise, they can be banished from football for months or years. 

By Rob 26th February 2020

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