In January, it was revealed that the FA were looking in to betting around a card shown to an Arsenal player, but, after much suspicion was thrown around, what do we actually know and why did the story vanish?

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Referee David Coote shows a yellow card during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United at Molineux on December 01, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: Referee David Coote (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

If you’d just glanced at the headlines, it would have been easy to suspect that an Arsenal player had deliberately got himself booked, risking his career, in order to help someone somewhere make less money than the player makes in a week or two as a footballer,

But that’s what they wanted you to think.

Reading into the articles, however, a much murkier picture started to emerge, one that not only seemed to point away from any active Arsenal involvement, but also pointed towards there being no corruption involved whatsoever.

That’s not to say that football is clean, it is far from it. Nor should we expect it to be anything other than a microcosm of society at large.

But in this instance? There seemed to be a lot of hot air masquerading as smoke.

It seems that the media, once again, were more than happy to bang on their ‘Arsenal are cheats’ drum, leading their merry readers on a Pied Piper dance to a destination far from the truth.

Buried in the Daily Mail’s piece headlined ‘FA’s Arsenal betting probe centres on £55k plunge,’ it became clear that Arsenal actually had little, if anything to do with the whole thing, beyond it being an Arsenal player the bets were placed on.

Daily Mail 21 January 2022
Daily Mail 21 January 2022

An unnamed industry expert told the Mail that the patterns of betting were highly unusual, but also added, “The trading in the 10 minutes prior to that yellow is nothing like I have ever seen before.

“It looks unusual but the most plausible thing is that it is the perfect storm of punters opposing each other rather than fixing.

“I have got to emphasise it is people losing money as well as winning.

“I don’t think Premier League footballers on £175,000 a week are fixing, even to the slightly larger amounts you can win on exchanges.”

FA sources also told the Mail that, privately, they doubt the player even knew about the spot bets.

Here is what we actually know:

  • There was an unusually large bet on an Arsenal player to get a yellow card in the late stages of an, as-yet, unspecified game.
  • The spotlight is focused on one particular £55,000 bet.
  • The FA were probing the matter but a formal investigation was not launched.
  • Privately, the FA doubted that any Arsenal player was knowingly involved
  • An industry expert highlighted that money was lost, as well as won, and that it was likely not dodgy.

That’s it.

It is, perhaps, then unsurprising that the story faded as quickly as it arrived – because there was no story.

I’d assume by this point we would have heard if the FA opened a formal investigation but there seemed no desire to do that because even the FA didn’t think the Arsenal player had anything to do with it.

As we’ve heard nothing, we can assume the mud was flung and then the throwers just walked away to focus on some other ‘news’.