September 25, 2023 3 min read


Non-transparent FA Policy Creates Double Standard for Betting

A new report criticizes non-transparent policies of the Football Association that reportedly enable club owners to be involved in wagering on soccer

Over the last two decades, the popularity of sports betting has grown exponentially. With smartphones, wagering on sports has never been easier, while recently, major gambling operators inked sponsorship agreements with globally-recognized soccer clubs. This growing popularity of sports betting resulted in concerns about the integrity of soccer competitions.

In the United Kingdom, the Football Association (FA) closely safeguards the integrity of soccer and has strict rules that prohibit players or other stakeholders from placing wagers. Any uncovered breaches are subject to penalties. While the rules are applicable to the majority of stakeholders, including professional soccer players, a new report suggests that some individuals may be exempt from the tough restrictions related to involvement in betting.

As announced by The Guardian, a handful of multimillionaire club owners may have established “opaque” arrangements with the FA that enable them to be involved in wagering on soccer. Reportedly, the owner of the Premier League club Brentford FC, Matthew Benham, is one of the club owners who may have benefited from such an agreement, details of which haven’t been released publicly.

Citing evidence, an investigation by the publication claims that Benham may have won money from wagers placed on soccer in his own name. The owner of the famous soccer club reportedly used MSPP Admin, a company described as a gambling syndicate. Philip Whall, a friend and business partner of Benham, and former director of Brentford, is listed as a co-owner of MSPP Admin along with Cliff Crown, the chair of the West London Club.

The announcement comes after earlier this year, Brentford’s striker, Ivan Toney, was handed an 8-month ban from soccer. The tough penalty came after he breached the rules for betting on the sport.

Opaque Policies Are Unfair for Soccer Players

According to a spokesperson for Benham, he currently complies with all of the FA’s requirements related to betting. “Matthew Benham, alongside other club owners who have a financial interest in a betting company, is subject to an FA policy which, if abided by, ensures that their betting companies may continue to bet on football,” revealed the spokesperson.

They explained that this policy doesn’t allow Benham to be involved in passing inside information or setting odds. The spokesperson said the aforementioned policy has been in effect for nearly 10 years. Finally, they explained: “Matthew fully complies with this FA policy. He abides by all its conditions and restrictions and is also subject to regular third-party audits to confirm compliance.”

However, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on soccer, Clive Betts, criticized the dual standards when it comes to wagering on soccer. He said: “It seems contradictory and very unfair if footballers are being pursued, in many cases quite rightly, but owners who are in a more senior position get away with what appears to be similar activity.” Finally, Betts encouraged the FA to be more transparent and said that the soccer supporters would also want to be aware of what is happening.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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