Richie Foran backs amnesty call for football’s gamblers

Inverness CT manager Richie Foran has backed calls for a betting 'amnesty'. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Inverness CT manager Richie Foran has backed calls for a betting 'amnesty'. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

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Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Richie Foran has backed calls to introduce an amnesty for those who have been guilty of breaching Scottish football’s zero-tolerance gambling rules.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart believes the amnesty would help solve an issue which this week saw Inverness midfielder Lewis Horner charged with placing 355 bets on football dating back to 2011.

Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland has also been cited by the Scottish FA’s Compliance Officer Tony McGlennan for placing 4011 bets on matches from July 2011 to May 2017.

Foran agrees that wiping the slate clean for historic instances of betting on football could form part of a constructive approach to address the problems experienced by players such as Horner, who is a self-confessed gambling addict.

“Maybe they shouldn’t be punished for what they’ve done in the past, let’s help them for the future,” said Foran.

“I don’t think it’s a huge problem, in terms of having guys that are addicts. It definitely goes on in football and I’d like to think it doesn’t go on at our club with anyone else, because I spoke to them three or four months ago about it. The PFA came in at the start of the season, so the lads would be very silly if they were gambling on football now.

“The only ones that are gambling now are the ones that have an addiction. Come forward, get it out there and be open and honest. Lewis needs help. This is not a lad that gambles every now and then – he has a gambling problem. He had counselling a few years back and it worked – he stopped gambling. He stopped going to the counselling, which was a big mistake, and has had a relapse. Lewis needs our help now. The Scottish FA and PFA need to help him, too. He needs people around him who can help him with this addiction and that’s what we’re going to do at the club.”

The Scottish FA are understood to be comfortable with the stringency of their rules on gambling, which they believe offer no room for misinterpretation. But it is also believed they would be happy to hear any proposals from Wishart which he could make in either his position as a member of the SFA Congress or the Rules Revision Panel.

Wishart has questioned whether the rules are “fit 
for purpose” and feels steps should be taken to prevent a procession of damaging headlines for Scottish football as more breaches of the regulation are uncovered.

“We have to have an adult conversation regarding a number of issues relating to gambling,” Wishart said.

“The effectiveness of the rule when people are still gambling, is it fit for purpose in the modern day, why are individuals still gambling, are there financial problems, mental health problems, addictions behind the scenes?

“Since the rule was brought in, there’s been nobody charged with spot-fixing or match-fixing, which is very, very important, and therefore the game perhaps is suffering from poor headlines and I don’t think the situation at the moment is helping the image of Scottish football.”

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