Leeds midfielder Jordan Stevens placed a bet two days after a presentation from the Football Association over gambling rules, it has emerged.
The 19-year-old has been given a six-week ban and a £1,200 fine after being charged with misconduct by the FA in relation to its betting regulations.
Stevens admitted to placing 59 bets on football between August 2018 and May 2019 – five of those involved games in which Leeds played.
On Tuesday, the FA published the written reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission following the hearing, which took place on August 30.
In those, it was detailed how Stevens, who signed for Leeds on January 31 2018, had opened a Sky Bet account on August 6 and placed his first bet.
The player confirmed he knew he was “not permitted to bet on football under the FA rules” and had attended an education presentation at Leeds on September 20 at which the betting regulations were discussed.
It was also revealed Stevens had continued to bet after the seminar, with one placed, the Commission said, “at a time when the education advice of the FA was still fresh in his mind”, only two days later.
As part of mitigation, Stevens said his friends back in Gloucester “were involved in betting and influencing him to do the same”.
The total of the bets staked was described as “modest at £510.12”, with 23 being on games in competitions which Leeds were involved and five were on matches involving his own club, although he did not play in any of them.
While the Commission found there was “no evidence of actual impact” on the games, betting on a match involving his own club meant “that inevitably raises a concern and a perception to the public that may be adverse to the integrity of the game”.
Stevens joined Leeds from Forest Green and has made one first-team appearance for the club.
His young age and “difficulties with boredom, homesickness and anxiety” were noted, with Leeds’ head of performance and medicine Rob Price saying in a witness statement that the player “had struggled to integrate himself” at the Yorkshire club, which is sponsored by gambling company 32Red.
It was also further asserted that Stevens was “heavily influenced by the presence of the gambling industry in football”. The Commission stated while “that is inevitably the case”, the rules against betting are “perfectly clear” and Stevens was “perfectly well aware of them”.
The Commission added that betting on his own club after the FA’s presentation “demonstrates a wilful disregard for the rules”.
The ban is on all footballing activity which means Stevens is unable to train with Leeds during that period or interact with players or the coaching staff – a move the club has called “excessive” and a “disproportionate punishment”.
However, in the written reasons, the Commission said it could not “ignore the substantial aggravating feature of JS (Stevens) continuing to bet in full knowledge of the rules”.
The Commission added: “In our judgement, on the particular facts of this case, that can only be achieved by an immediate sporting sanction and a financial penalty.”
Leeds have reiterated their stance in supporting their player and chief executive Angus Kinnear expressed his disappointment at Stevens’ suspension. The decision is subject to any appeal.
“Whilst we fully recognise the importance of the FA’s role in protecting the integrity of the game, we are hugely disappointed in the FA’s choice of sanction,” said Kinnear, in a statement on Leeds’ website.
“To prevent a young footballer from taking part in any football activities at such a critical period of his career is a disproportionate punishment following a foolish mistake from a young player.
“We are particularly disappointed that the sanction was determined by two former professional footballers who we hoped would have had a better understanding of the impact of their decision.”
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