The Huddersfield Town Football Club has announced the suspension of Kian Harratt, who admitted to having placed over 480 bets on football games between 2020 and 2023. Most of his betting activity was alleged to have happened during the 2020-21 season, when he made a total of 370 wagers.
In wagering on football games, Harratt breached Rule E8.1 of The Football Association (FA), which dictates that betting on matches or anything else relating to the sport is strictly prohibited. According to findings of the FA’s investigation into the matter, more than 180 of the wagers, while low value, concerned the outcomes of games that involved Harratt’s clubs. Furthermore, although 28 of the bets were made in favour of his own team winning, he was also found to have placed nine wagers against his team. There was also evidence Harratt had been fully aware that what he was doing at the time of betting was against FA regulations.
The independent Regulatory Commission in charge of evaluating the case did also take several mitigating factors into consideration when it came to the final ruling. Namely, Harratt confessed to his wrongdoings, and his bets had resulted in him incurring an overall loss from his betting activity. The fact that he was only 18 when he began wagering was also factored in. These facts are what led to the regulatory body making his ban shorter than the six months he would have got as a base punishment. According to the final ruling, Harratt is now banned from partaking in football and any activities relating to the sport for a total of four months. He was also handed a fine of £3,200.
The Impact of Football Betting Sponsorships on the Players
During the hearing, it was pointed out that Harratt considers the way betting sponsorships are so prominent in the football industry to be something that contributes towards gambling being normalised. He also specifically pointed to a sponsorship Huddersfield Town was a part of in 2019. This sentiment was present in his witness statement as well, where the player claimed that he saw the pervasiveness of betting sponsorships in football to mean that the sport and gambling “were closely linked.”
This points to the broader issue of football sponsorships in the UK and why they have been under intense scrutiny in recent years. The Big Step, a campaign that aims to sever the ties between football and gambling sponsorships, commented on Harratt’s suspension on X (formerly Twitter) by making the following statement: “Another one. When will football wake up?”
Indeed, a number of football players have been temporarily banned from playing as a result of them committing gambling misconducts. Some, like Brentford FC forward Ivan Toney and Newcastle United’s Sandro Tonali, were also found to have been suffering from gambling addiction. Situations such as this are among the reasons a significant number of British football clubs in the UK have joined the Big Step Campaign and have stopped accepting sponsorships from gambling companies.