An appeals board in England Monday agreed with the Football Association (FA) that penalties levied against former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge for providing inside information for the purposes of gambling were too lenient. As a result, the 30-year-old forward will miss the rest of the season.
The board gave Sturridge a four-month ban from competition. Taking into consideration the two weeks he had previously served under an initial ruling, he can resume activity on June 17.
Sturridge also saw his fine doubled to £150,000 ($192,181) for providing family and friends information regarding his potential destination in the transfer market in January 2018.
Sportsbooks in England allow bettors to wager on teams that end up acquiring players during the transfer window.
Sturridge faced 11 charges from the FA when the governing body announced its findings in November 2018. Last July, a regulatory commission panel dismissed nine of those charges. That prompted the FA to appeal.
The FA said in a statement after the ruling they appealed the original finding because they felt its rules were not applied correctly and that the penalties were too lax.
On appeal, Sturridge was found guilty of two additional charges.
Family Members, Associates Made Transfer Bets
According to the FA, at the time in question, Sturridge found himself as a reserve player for Liverpool and sought an opportunity to play on another club’s first-string unit. He had a discussion with family members about where he may end up at a birthday party for his brother, Leon Sturridge, who himself had previously sought counseling for problem gaming.
After that party, his cousin placed a £10,000 bet that Sturridge would move to Inter Milan, a top-tier Italian team. Days later, the FA said Daniel Sturridge sent his brother a text telling him to wager £1,000 on him moving to Sevilla, a top Spanish club.
However, his brother never followed through with that bet. Others connected to Leon Sturridge, though, did make wagers on Sevilla.
As West Bromwich Albion, another English squad, came into the picture, those associated with Daniel Sturridge tried to make bets on that move, including the cousin who bet on the Inter transfer. He sought to make a £3,000 bet at 66-1 odds, but Paddy Power rejected the bet.
The next day, the cousin was able to make a £100 bet at 3-1 on the move to West Brom.
The initial ruling board handed down a six-week ban to Sturridge but suspended four weeks of that.
Sturridge Still Disputes Charges
In a video posted on YouTube, Sturridge said he found it hard to focus on his game during the lengthy process and that he was devastated to learn his season was over.
I am going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families, close friends freely without the real risk of being charged,” he said. “I feel it’s the betting companies and the practice and the way… the process of people being able to place bets on players moving clubs has to be stopped.”
FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, accepted the ruling on Sturridge and confirmed it would be effective worldwide.
Hours before the suspension became public, Sturridge and Trabzonspor, a top-tier Turkish club he signed with this season, agreed to mutually terminate his contract.
“We thank Daniel Sturridge for his contributions to our club and wish him success in his future career,” the Turkish club posted Monday on its English-language Twitter account.
In his video statement, Sturridge said he didn’t feel comfortable accepting a salary from a team when he was unable to play.
Across all competitions, Sturridge scored four goals and added four assists in 13 games this season. In 14 seasons as a professional, he’s made 285 appearances and scored 96 goals.
Sturridge faced up to a lifetime ban for his actions. However, he’ll be able to sign with clubs for the 2020-21 season or possibly for the second half of the 2020 MLS season here in North America.