Saturday 1 October 2016

Donegal players face no punishment because betting coup broke no rules

Published 24/10/2015 | 02:30

Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness
Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness

Donegal players will face no sanction arising from revelations from former manager Jim McGuinness that they bet on themselves to beat Dublin in last year's All-Ireland semi-final.

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McGuinness claims that his squad availed of 10/1 odds to reap a rich return when Donegal recovered from a five-point first-half deficit to win by six points.

"Our boys had us backed to beat Dublin. We were available at 10/1. They had a few hundred euro on themselves," he writes in his autobiography, due to be released next week.

The GAA frowns on players betting on games in which they are involved, but their rule book does not forbid it.

The GAA and GPA launched guidelines on gambling last year amid fears that it is becoming an ever-increasing problem, not just in the Association, but in society in general.

One specific GAA/GPA recommendation was to avoid all links with gambling.

"As a player, mentor, or official with a unique insight into team selection, tactics, form, or insider information, the best recommendation is to never bet on a competition your team is involved in. Legislation in Ireland (Republic) and Northern Ireland outlines severe consequences relating to any potential match-fixing or abuse of insider knowledge, with penalties including a fine and/or imprisonment."

"Within the GAA, match-fixing or improperly influencing the outcome of a game for your financial gain or another's could fall under 'Misconduct considered to have discredited the Association' dealt with under Rule 7.2(e) in the Official Guide 2013."

There has been a massive growth in GAA betting over the last decade, with the main bookmaking chains providing extensive odds on virtually every game at all levels.

Indeed, it's quite common for stories to emerge of club squads, in particular, backing themselves to win championships.

The GAA hierarchy disapprove but there's little they can do about it.

A GPA survey of over 2,000 members last year revealed that seven per cent believed that a gambling problem existed within their own squad, while 23 per cent believed that gambling problems prevailed in the wider playing community.

Irish Independent

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