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Betting On Inside Information In Football: Lessons from the Trippier and Sturridge cases

Betting On Inside Information In Football: Lessons from the Trippier and Sturridge cases
Thursday, 04 February 2021 By Alastair Campbell

The recent cases of The FA v. Kieran Trippier[1] and The FA v. Daniel Sturridge[2] have highlighted what is likely to become a growing issue for players and other Participants[3] at the top end of the game.  By the very nature of their careers, Participants are likely to be privy to information which is not available to the public, and in circumstances where betting companies are keen to offer odds on every aspect of the professional game, such “inside information” can often provide a material advantage in the betting markets. 

For Participants, sharing this inside information can, when it is subsequently used for or in relation to betting, amount to misconduct under FA Rule E.8.  If players are careless with their language, it could also be argued that they are instructing, or at least encouraging, others to bet.  However, players and other Participants clearly have the right to discuss developments in their careers with friends and family and to seek advice from those they trust.  There is therefore a fine line between a legitimate conversation within a player’s inner circle and an impermissible disclosure of insider information or an instruction to bet.

The Trippier case has also drawn attention to the mechanisms for giving international effect to sanctions imposed by a member association and when those mechanisms are available.  Atlético Madrid’s appeal against the worldwide effect of Mr Trippier’s ban has also posed questions as to how effective the mechanisms for giving worldwide effect to domestic sanctions really are.

This article explores the nature of the “indirect” offences under FA Rule E.8 and how that rule was interpreted and applied in Sturridge and Trippier.[4]  It also explores the way in which sanctions are imposed on Participants and how The FA sought to give international effect to the sanctions handed down in Trippier.  Finally, this article considers why the international aspect of Mr Trippier’s ban was briefly suspended, allowing him to play for Atlético Madrid whilst suspended by The FA, before the international ban was then reinstated a few days later.  The sub-sections are as follows:

  • FA Rule E.8 (prohibition on betting by Participants)
  • The “IPCE” offence (instructing, permitting, causing or enabling a third party to bet on football-related matters)
  • The inside information offence
    • The existence of inside information
    • Use for or in relation to betting
    • The regulatory defence
  • Sanctions in betting cases
    • The betting sanction guidelines
    • The relevance of sanctions in previous cases
  • The international effect of the sanction in Trippier
    • The FIFA appeal - procedure
    • The FIFA appeal - substance
    • The FA’s application for a domestic extension
    • Next steps – an appeal to the CAS?

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About the Author

Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell

Alastair is a sports lawyer and partner at Level.  He acts for clients in the sports sector across a broad range of issues, from contractual matters to questions of public law.  He also specialises in conduct, disciplinary and regulatory work, advising on non-contentious issues such as the drafting of regulations and procedures, as well as acting on contentious disciplinary matters (including cases related to betting and integrity).  He is experienced in advisory work and has extensive knowledge of regulatory structures in football. 
 
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