Advice line - all bets are off

Football physio James Rowland tackles the controversial topic of betting in football

In recent months betting in football has been a hot topic in the media.

The Football Association (FA) recently released a statement banning people at ‘Step 1 to 4’ clubs from betting, whether directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition.

Thus, the ban covers people connected to a wide of range of clubs, from those in the Premier League down to those in the Northern Premier League Division One North, for example.

How does this affect physiotherapists working in professional or semi-professional football? The FA rule change, starting in the 2014 to 2015 season, will affect playing, coaching and medical staff alike.

As a football physiotherapist the management of injuries is one of my key roles and responsibilities, along with other members of the medical team.

We hold the key information regarding our patients’ injury status and know how long they are going to be sidelined.

If someone outside the club asks if a player is going to make a quicker return than expected, we must be very careful. Inside knowledge could potentially change the betting market and be a breach of the FA guidelines.

Here’s the challenge: friends, family or fans might show an interest in an injured player as you meet in the street or while you are out socialising. My advice is to demonstrate your professionalism and integrity at all times.

With reference to the CSP Code of Members’ Professional Values and Behaviour, we as practitioners working in professional football or elite sport must adhere to legal and regulatory requirements while delivering an effective service.

This could involve a number of situations: a late fitness test, a behind closed doors pre-signing examination, a player leaving a club, even a manager leaving a club.

It can be easy to succumb to external pressures.

Questions might be ‘who is playing?’, ‘what formation?’, ‘is the star striker fit?’, ‘is the manager playing his strongest side?’

Maintain confidentiality and strive to achieve continued excellence as a leader for the physiotherapy profession in sport.

The consequences of betting in football can be detrimental to the game; don’t be a part of it.

James Rowland is head physiotherapist, Burton Albion Football Club


Frontline Staff

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