Ex-Liverpool striker Sturridge banned in betting case

LONDON (AP) — Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge said he was devastated to be banned from soccer until June for breaking betting rules and called on companies to be prevented from taking bets on player transfers in the wake of the decision.

Sturridge was suspended from all football and football-related activity until June 17 after the English Football Association successfully appealed against the initial two-week ban given to him last year.

An independent regulatory commission found he gave his brother inside information on a possible move to Sevilla during the January 2018 transfer window.

“I am going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and close friends freely without the real risk of being charged,” Sturridge said. “I feel the betting companies and the practice and process of people placing bets on players’ moving clubs has to be stopped, and although the appeal panel recognised I hadn’t bet and no one else had bet, I was still charged.

“It was very disappointing and upsetting for me to hear the news that the appeal panel overturned the original highly qualified panel’s ruling.”

An independent appeal board found the original commission misapplied the FA’s rules in relation to the use of inside information and made findings of fact which could not be sustained.

The appeal board has therefore proven two further charges and agreed with the FA that the penalty originally imposed on Sturridge was unduly lenient, increasing his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months.

His fine was also doubled to 150,000 pounds ($192,000) and the suspension will be applied with worldwide effect.

Sturridge earlier on Monday mutually terminated his contract at Turkish side Trabzonspor, which he joined last August on a three-year deal.

“It is devastating for me and I’m absolutely gutted about it,” Sturridge said. “My season is over and I am devastated.”

Sturridge moved to Turkey after a 6 1/2-year spell at Liverpool where he scored 67 goals in 160 appearances.

At Trabzonspor, Sturridge found the net four times in the league and made his last appearance against Besiktas on Feb. 22.