There is a thing in news reporting called journalistic privilege, which essentially gives writers the freedom to reveal otherwise confidential information in the public domain where it is considered to be in the ‘wider interest’.
Whether the exact details regarding the betting scandal involving Daniel Sturridge, which is currently being investigated by the Football Association, satisfy the above criteria is anybody’s guess, but the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel has decided to wade in anyway.
To be fair, the football penman has been in the game for a long old time and has won countless awards, so his judgement can be trusted.
And what he revealed in his column on Monday shed further light on a truly beguiling case of betting’s inside information quandary.
The Italian Job
The basic facts of the case are these: Sturridge’s cousin placed a £10,000 wager on the Liverpool man joining Inter Milan in the winter transfer window of January 2018.
According to the writer, Paddy Power took the bet – ‘there is confirmation from Paddy Power that a bet was placed on Sturridge to Inter Milan on January 17 at 11.44’ – and they too would also subsequently reported it to the FA. It appeared as though the Irish firm would be hustled in a case of classic insider info.
And then, bizarrely, for whatever reason Sturridge did not join the Italian side, instead turning up on loan at West Bromwich Albion for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign.
That would have given the England striker’s cousin the right hump, you’d imagine, and it was a bet that only served to get his famous sibling into some potentially deep water with the authorities.
Samuel went on to share his disbelief that any punter could get £10,000 on with any firm regarding a major transfer, and cited an example of a faux wager on Anthony Martial to join Inter Milan in the upcoming transfer window; he was restricted to a maximum stake of just £83.
He went on to claim that the only way the bookmaker would accept the full £10k wager ‘would be if they wanted to expose a conspiracy’.
Full Force of the Law
Initially, it had been reported that Sturridge faces two charges of misconduct relating to betting activities.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) 19 November 2018
But according to Samuel, who says he has seen documents relating to the case, there is actually nine charges outstanding relating to transfer betting markets in January 2018.
The first rule that the Liverpool ace is alleged to have broken is the placing of bets on football, which is expressly outlawed by the FA.
‘….shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world,’ so their laws read.
Another charge relates to gifting of insider information for the purposes of financial gain. This is defines as ‘[information] which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game, and which is not publicly available at that time.’
The case continues.