Arsenal Player Under Football Association Investigation Amid Suspicious Premier League Sports Betting Patterns
hoto by David Horton – CameraSport via Getty Images. Pictured: Referee assigning a yellow card
An unnamed Arsenal player is under investigation by the Football Association (FA) after concerns were raised about suspicious betting activity.
According to a report by The Athletic, and confirmed to the publication by the FA, an alarming amount of money placed on a prop bet spiked a sportsbook’s interest.
When the bet was flagged, it was reported back to the FA. “The FA is aware of the matter in question and is looking into it,” the Football Association said in a statement to The Athletic.
The play in question is over an Arsenal player receiving a caution in Premier League play. Betting on yellow cards is a niche prop bet available in markets, one that is unlikely to attract significant interest from the general betting population. It’s not like betting on a team to win or total goals scored.
It’s also the type of bet that can be controlled by individual players. There’s little-to-no randomness about the result. That means bookmakers keep a closer eye on the markets, and when suspicious activity pops up, it’s easier to spot.
It’s one thing for a significant amount of money to come in backing Arsenal. It’s another for a large amount to be placed on something like a specific player receiving a yellow card.
While the identity of the player has yet to be confirmed, Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette are three top players without a yellow card this season. That would seemingly remove them from consideration.
BetFair tracked significant action on Granit Xhaka to be carded on Dec. 18 in Arsenal’s match vs. Leeds. At +156 odds via the exchange, $65,000 came in on Xhaka. That’s notable because the market was available at other shops at +188, meaning the bettors took a worse price through the exchange to get big money down.
At the 86′ mark, Xhaka was given a yellow card for time-wasting over a free kick.
One of the benefits of legal sports betting and regulation is it becomes easier to spot irregularities in the market, thus making any sort of match-fixing tougher to get away with.
Former Southhampton player Matt Le Tissier admitted in an autobiography that he attempted to manipulate prop markets such as time of first throw-in. In 2018, Lincoln City’s Bradley Wood was banned for six years after intentionally receiving yellow cards.