Messages to betting pals that led to Trippier’s soccer ban

AP

LONDON (AP) — As Kieran Trippier was trying to secure a move from Tottenham, the England defender was sending messages on WhatsApp to keep friends updated with the progress of the transfer.

They were more than just keen on knowing which country Trippier would be moving to. They hoped to personally make a bit of cash, too, on him leaving England for Spain to join Atletico Madrid.

“Shall I lump on you going there?” one friend — who owns a personal assistant service for sports stars — texted Trippier on the evening of July 14, 2019.

“Can do mate,” Trippier replied.

The friend wanted certainty: “100% Tripps?”

“Yeah mate,” the player responded. “Don’t blame me if something goes wrong. … It shouldn’t but just letting you no.”

Then Trippier added, using a term for betting: “Lump on if you want mate.”

By providing inside information that could be used for betting, Trippier was in breach of the English Football Association rules designed to protect the integrity of the game.

Details of the messages — and others to friends about the transfer and betting — were contained in the 41-page findings published by the FA on Tuesday. Even though Trippier was not accused of any match fixing or betting imposed, a 10-week ban from football was imposed.

While the suspension was initially extended to apply worldwide by FIFA, it was paused at the weekend, to allow an appeal.

The FA regulatory commission said the messages “very strongly suggest that MB (the unnamed friend) would bet on the transfer” and Trippier knew.

“We simply do not accept that these messages would be read by KT as ‘banter,'” the FA commission said of Trippier. “There is nothing about the words used by the men which is consistent with banter as that word is normally understood. The purpose of the messaging is quite clear. MB was seeking reassurance that he should bet heavily on KT’s transfer to Atlético; KT provided such reassurance.

“In those circumstances, it seems to us that we have no option but to conclude that KT knew that MB would bet upon the transfer and, accordingly, the regulatory defence must fail.”

The FA findings point to media reports on July 10, 2019 showing Atletico was stepping up attempts to sign Trippier.

The next day, another friend of Trippier’s sent a message saying he’s got odds of 6/1 on the transfer. Twenty pounds ($27) was bet by the friend who was identified only as “OH” by the FA. He placed another two bets later on: 42.15 pounds and 50 pounds at odds of 7/2.

“It’s happening,” Trippier texted in the evening, which led to OH placing bets of 65 pounds (7/2) and 40 pounds (9/4).

In the early hours of July 13, OH wagered another 20 pounds at odds of 6/4.

“Come Madrid with me to sign mate,” Tripper wrote at 9.10 a.m. to the “Pint” WhatsApp chat group shortly after OH posted a message.

About 90 minutes later, OH placed another bet of 20 pounds on the transfer at odds of 4-1. There were two further bets of 22 pounds at odds of 5-6 that day and OH bet 20 pounds (1/3) and 300 pounds (1/6) on July 16 as the transfer neared conclusion before being announced the following day.

Trippier, who scored in England’s 2018 World Cup semifinal loss to Croatia, has not commented on the ban.

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