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UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF THE GAME

Clarifying The FA’s prohibition on betting activities: an analysis of the Nick Bunyard decision

Published 20 December 2016 | Authored by: Alice McDonald

The application and interpretation of The Football Association’s (“The FA’s”) rules prohibiting betting activities, contained in Rule E8 of the Rules of The FA, is a slowly developing field. Decisions are rare; only two sets of written reasons concerning betting offences have been released this season. The FA’s online records show that there have been 17 in total since the 2009/10 season.

On 14 November 2016 an Independent Regulatory Commission of The FA (“the Commission”) released its written reasons[1] in proceedings brought by The FA against Nick Bunyard, a former professional and semi-professional footballer and later manager of Paulton Rovers FC and Frome Town FC. The proceedings concerned breaches of The FA’s prohibition on betting activities (Rule E8), and an alleged breach of an interim suspension order (Rule E1).

The decision is particularly interesting in how the Commission approached the issue of what sanction should be imposed for the breaches in question. This article examines the Commission’s decision and related lessons for those regulated under the Rules of The FA. Specifically it looks at:

  • The Bunyard Decision – a review of the facts, the issues determined, the decision and the Commission’s powers; 

  • Comment and tips for clubs managers and players – guidance on sanctions, definition of “football activity”, and a discussion of whether the decision is a sign of things to come.

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About the Author

Alice McDonald

Alice McDonald

Alice McDonald is a barrister in the Commercial and Tax teams at St Johns Buildings, Manchester.

Alice advises and represents corporate clients and individuals on a variety of commercial law and tax law matters, including those with a public law element. She has particular experience in contentious tax disputes, having previously been employed at a leading tax litigation firm, where she worked on cases in the First-tier Tribunal (Tax), High Court and Court of Appeal.

As a keen runner and former rower Alice has a growing interest in sports law.

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