ALEX Smith, chairman of the Scottish League Managers’ Association, has labelled Ian Black “the luckiest man in football” following his “lenient” punishment for contravening SFA gambling regulations.
The Rangers midfielder admitted betting on his team not to win on three occasions, while a further ten wagers involved the side he was then registered with.
The 28-year-old, who has turned out for Inverness, Hearts and Rangers was also found guilty of betting on another 147 games between 2006 and 2013 which did not involved his own team.
The outcome of Thursday’s hearing – which saw Black hit with a 10-game ban, seven of which are suspended until the end of the season, and a £7,500 fine – has stunned Smith, who reckons the ban will do nothing to stop players from betting on football.
He slammed: “Ian Black is the luckiest player in Scottish football after this decision and I don’t think anyone will see the punishment as fitting the crime in this case.
“The lad will be relieved, as will his club, but I don’t think the action taken by the SFA will act as much of a deterrent. The ban is lenient, the fine even more so. His fine, in relative terms, is one week’s wages.
“I’m surprised, to put it mildly. This was a landmark case and the precedent set is not a good one.
“When the next player comes before the SFA, if he hasn’t bet on games involving his own club he will be expecting less than three matches. Anything more will seem excessive when compared to Black.”
The 73-year-old describes the culture of gambling within Scottish football as a “crisis” and was desperate to see the SFA take a zero tolerance stance on an issue which, Smith insists, can ruin careers.
Instead, Smith believes the SFA have bottled a golden opportunity to set a powerful precedent. He continued: “The SFA have missed the chance to send out a strong message that gambling on football matches will not be tolerated.
“Black has escaped with little more than a slap on the wrist but I doubt he will be the last. It will be interesting to see how the game handles what has become a crisis.
“I’ve been in this game a long time and I’ve watched so many young lads ruined by what started out as the odd bet, here and there.”