Gambling in Scottish football: SFSA calls for independent summit

All three of Scotland's major trophies are sponsored by gambling firms
All three of Scotland's major trophies are sponsored by bookmakers' firms

Gambling rules in Scottish football are "not working", says a fans' group spokesman, who is calling for a summit to examine the problem.

Paul Goodwin, Scottish Football Supporters Association co-founder, thinks a new approach is required.

"It's time to step back and ask if self-regulation is the right way to tackle this problem," he said.

"We know that there is a zero-tolerance to gambling but that's obviously just not working."

The Scottish FA has a policy which prohibits players, coaches, club officials and referees from betting on matches anywhere in the world.

Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland is the latest figure within the game to be punished for breaching those regulations.

On Thursday he was fined £3,000, two thirds of which is suspended, for making more than 4,000 bets.

Of those wagers, 430 involved his own club, with four placed on the League Two club to lose.

'Fines and suspensions just seem to be so arbitrary'

"The fine is surprising," added Goodwin.

"Most fans, the line that they would draw, would be anyone from a club betting against their own team."

Last month, Inverness Caley Thistle defender Lewis Horner received a suspended eight-match ban for betting on the grounds that he receives help for his addiction.

That followed the assertion that gambling is "rife" throughout Scottish football, made by PFA Scotland chairman John Rankin.

Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland
Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland was fined for making more than 4,000 bets

On the current SFA approach, Goodwin added: "We don't know what's going on. Is there a clear pathway? Do the same rules apply to everyone?

"The fines and suspensions just seem to be so arbitrary.

"And that's only one part of it.

"Then there is the amount of sponsorship that comes into the game (from the gambling industry).

"Can someone independent from the confines of the offices at Hampden Park look at this and come up with some other solutions?"

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan was unavailable for comment.

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