Football

England set for blanket betting ban for players

LONDON (AP) — The English Football Association moved closer Wednesday to imposing a blanket ban on anyone involved in the game from betting on any match in the world.

A rule change was unanimously recommended by the FA Council, and will come into effect from next season if it is approved by the FA's annual general meeting in May. Players, coaches and officials are currently only banned from betting on matches in competitions involving their team. But under the new regulations, the FA says anyone in the top eight divisions in England could be banned from "betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition anywhere in the world."

The FA's plans for such a stringent ban were first reported by The Associated Press in 2009, but are only now being pushed through following a string of high-profile cases. The latest disciplinary action led to third-tier club Tranmere firing manager Ronnie Moore earlier Wednesday for admitting to breaching betting rules.

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend was forced to pull out of England's under-21 squad for the European Championship last year for violating the FA's betting rules. "The proposed betting rule adjustment to encompass all aspects of world football provides a simple and straightforward message to all participants on where the line is drawn," FA director of football governance and regulation Darren Bailey said.

The FA, though, has an official betting sponsor and coach Roy Hodgson named his most recent squad in front of a backdrop for William Hill. The new rules would prevent Hodgson using Willian Hill to bet on football.

Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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