RANGERS goalkeeper Steve Simonsen has blasted the Scottish Football Association for potentially ruining his career at Ibrox.
The 35-year old stopper last night successfully avoided having his two match ban, one of which was suspended, for gambling offences lengthened to 16 games.
Simonsen admitted to gambling on a total of 55 matches - none of which involved Rangers - over the course of 14 months, and he accepted the original ban.
That was then challenged by SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan who saw the punishment as being “unduly lenient” in light of the SFA’s zero-tolerance policy to gambling.
However, Simonsen’s defence that he was unaware football gambling laws were different north and south of the border proved to be successful, and he turned his ire toward the governing body for hampering his progress at a crucial juncture in his career.
“I’m very disappointed the compliance officer decided to launch an appeal,” Simonsen told the Daily Record.
“I feel as if they have gone to town on this when they had no need. I’m delighted the latest panel saw sense, as the first panel did, and decided I did not deliberately flaunt the rules.
“This case has been hanging over me since January and we’re into April. It has been a very stressful time for me, a torrid few months.
“I have lost my place in the Rangers team and, in the last couple of weeks, my place in the squad all together.
“I’m out of contract at the end of the season and I absolutely fear for my Rangers career now.
“I’m not even involved in the matchday squad and I also worry my good reputation built up over 20 years in football has been tarnished.
He added: “I was following the rules in England, where you get guidance. I arrived in Scotland where I was not offered any SFA guidelines.”
“I’ve had to take a lot of flak – some people even labelled me a gambling addict. I bet £200 over a 14 month period, approximately 20p a day.
In September 2013, Simonsen’s Ibrox team-mate Ian Black was handed a 10-game ban - seven of which were suspended - and a £7,500 fine after admitted to placing 160 football bets over a seven-year period.
Three of the matches involved bets placed against the former Hearts and Inverness midfielder’s own team, which included a gamble that Rangers would draw against East Stirlingshire. Black scored the third goal in his side’s 4-2 win, a result that scuppered his own accumulator.
Five months later, Ayr United frontman Michael Moffat was given a four-game ban - with another two suspended - after he was found guilty of placing seven bets on six matches involving his own team. Moffat, who avoided a fine, was also found guilty of placing an additional 150 bets on other games.
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