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Saturday 18 November 2017

PFA boss Gordon Taylor's job not at risk after betting allegations

PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor
PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor

Martyn Ziegler

Players' chief Gordon Taylor's job is not at risk following allegations that he is a serial gambler, according to a senior source at the Professional Footballers' Association.

Taylor was alleged by the Sun newspaper to have a heavy gambling habit - a sensitive subject given that several players and club officials having recently been sanctioned by the Football Association for breaching betting rules.

The report has been the subject of discussion by the 12-man PFA committee and a statement from the players' union is expected on Thursday.

However, a senior PFA source told Press Association Sport that Taylor's position is not under threat, saying: "A report like this will of course lead to a discussion by the committee but there is no suggestion that this will affect his position.

"We are intending to issue a statement on Thursday following our discussions."

Taylor has been head of the PFA since 1981 and has himself warned of the dangers of gambling.

He was one of the first public figures to secure damages from News International after his phone was revealed to have been hacked, with a reported £700,000 settlement agreed in 2008.

Taylor was not available for comment on Wednesday night.

Taylor is understood to have spent Wednesday taking legal advice after hearing about the allegations, which come at an unfortunate time.

Betting in football has hit the headlines in the last few months with Tottenham midfielder Andros Townsend and Stoke striker Cameron Jerome both sanctioned for breaching betting rules, as has Accrington Stanley's managing director Robert Heys.

In 2010, Taylor warned that football needed to take a "zero tolerance" approach to betting.

Taylor said then: "The feeling in football, bearing in mind what has happened with other sports, is that we do need a zero tolerance.

"It's going to be difficult because, as we all know, there is a culture of betting in football.

"Footballers like a gamble, we know that, but the use of inside information and betting of any kind has become a very sensitive issue. We feel it's time that the players' union backed a zero tolerance stance against betting."

The PFA has a programme warning young players about the dangers of developing a gambling addiction and offering support.

Ten years ago, after Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen revealed he had lost £400,000 through gambling, Taylor said: "Gambling is possibly the biggest danger facing our members."

As a player Taylor made over 250 appearances for Bolton before enjoying spells with Birmingham, Blackburn, Vancouver Whitecaps and Bury. Having joined the PFA management committee in 1972 he became its chairman six years later and a full-time member on retiring from football in 1980.

A year later he succeeded Cliff Lloyd as chief executive and spent the next decade integrating the youth training scheme into professional football while introducing standard contracts and non-contributory pension schemes for all players.

Taylor served as president of the International Association of Football Players' Unions (FIFPro) between 1994 and 2005 and remains a major supporter of anti-racism campaigns 'Show Racism the Red Card' and 'Kick It Out'.

Press Association

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