Can Soccer Players Bet on Soccer?

Can soccer players bet on soccer?
(Photo Illustration by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world right now, and there is no denying that. Over 3 billion people currently watch the game, whether with an intense passion or a casual familiarity.

For many soccer fans, the thrill of the game isn’t just in the 90 minutes of play but also in the potential to engage in betting, adding an extra layer of excitement to the match.

However, for those directly involved in the sport—that is the players—the question of whether they can participate in betting often arises.

This is a significant concern for fans and players alike, as it touches on the integrity of the sport and the rules that govern it. Also, many people have wondered if soccer players can bet on soccer. Read on to find out the answer.

Soccer Betting

Betting on soccer is a time-honored tradition, going back to the initial creation of the game. In the 1800s, however, fans would have to visit sportsbooks and place bets in person. Today that is no longer the case. If you want to place a bet on the game, all you have to do is visit an online sportsbook.

Online sportsbooks have done wonders for soccer betting and sports betting in general. They’ve made the whole thing a lot more popular and a lot simpler so that new people can easily get into the hobby.

Can soccer players and staff bet on soccer?

When it comes to soccer players betting on matches, the rules are clear and strictly enforced.

The FA, for example, has implemented a worldwide ban on betting for all individuals involved in the game at the professional level.

This includes players, managers, match officials, club staff, and others with a direct connection to the sport.

The rules prohibit betting on any football-related matters, which includes everything from transfer policies and employment of managers to team selection and disciplinary matters.

The ban means they cannot bet on any match taking place anywhere in the world or any other football-related activities like player transfers, hiring and firing managers, as well as passing information to instruct someone to place a bet on their behalf or for their own benefit.

Soccer Players and Betting

Soccer players are actually prohibited from betting on the game that they are involved with. According to the Football Association, anyone participating in the game must not also participate in betting on said game. At first, this may seem unjust. However, there is, indeed, a very good reason for this. 

The primary concern here is an ethical one. Namely, a player could wager on an opposing team and then do their best to ensure the opposing team wins the match.

Not to mention, there is a sort of insider knowledge about the workings of the game. In essence, if you are a soccer player, you have an unfair advantage when betting on soccer. You can read up on the major reasons why soccer players are not allowed to bet.

Soccer Players Caught Betting

Despite the strict rules, notable footballers have been caught betting on the sport. They’ve then suffered some sort of penalty, whether that be a fine, a ban, or both.

One of the more recent examples was Ivan Toney, who only returned to the sport in January 2024 after an almost two-year ban. There are many other examples of soccer players who have been banned for betting.

Another noteworthy example is Joey Barton. Dubbed “soccer’s bad boy” and often called “too toxic for football,” Joey has had his fair share of scandals.

A rather egregious one was in 2016, when it was discovered that Barton had placed over 1,200 wagers on the sport.

What is worse, they all involved himself or his team. Barton suffered an 18-month ban issued by the English Football Association. Many famous soccer players have struggled with betting issues, which ruined their careers.

Can soccer players bet on soccer?
(Photo Illustration by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Can Soccer Players Bet on Other Sports?

Just because soccer players are barred from betting on soccer does not mean that they are not allowed to wager at all. Indeed, there are quite a few noteworthy cases of top-tier footballers who are known for their enthusiasm for sports betting. 

Usually, English football players seem to be drawn to horse racing or cricket. That is understandable, as these are the two most popular sports to bet on in the UK, apart from soccer.

There is no penalty or regulation against soccer players wagering on different sports, so this scenario isn’t a problem.

Nevertheless, recognizing the potential risks associated with gambling, player associations like The PFA provides education and support to players regarding the rules of betting in soccer.

This ensures that players are well-informed about the regulations and the consequences of violating them, which can include fines, suspensions, and even lifetime bans from the sport.

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