Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Roly-poly goalie...

Wayne Shaw, Sutton United’s self-styled “roly-poly goalie”, has been sacked for public pie-eating after a betting company had offered odds of 8-1 against him eating a pie on the bench during the club’s 2-0 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup. He’s in the wrong, apparently, though I’d lay the blame fairly and squarely on betting companies who drum up publicity via this kind of ‘novelty bet’.

Punters are no longer limited to betting on the result of a game, or the final score, or the score at half time. They can, for example, bet on something as seemingly insignificant as who gets the first throw-in of the game, and when, which can tempt players to make a few quid (while not jeopardising the final result of the game).

Matthew le Tissier has admitted being part of a scam, back in 1995, when ‘spread betting’ was still a novelty, to win £10,000. “The plan was for us to kick the ball straight into touch at the start of the game and then collect 56 times our stake. Easy money”. It didn’t work. He booted the ball, hoping to make it look like a mis-kick, and another player - not in on the scam - managed to keep the ball in play. There must be many other instances of foul play, though not many players will admit to it.

In the meantime, the roly-poly goalie is sacked in disgrace (though, who knows, Ginsters might sign him up to be the face of their pie and pasty business). It’s wrong to offer bets on something that one single person (not a whole team) can influence. If the betting companies offer the bet, and a pie-loving player obliges by stuffing his face while the TV cameras are on him, who is to blame?

Caravan living (old friend Bryn, from York)...

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