The Football Association has banned former Lincoln footballer Bradley Wood for six years and fined the defender £3,725, after he was found guilty of 25 betting related breaches.
The two most damning charges which Wood denied, related to events that occurred during Lincoln’s memorable 2016‑17 FA Cup run, when the player was ruled to have purposely picked up two yellow cards, against Ipswich and against Burnley.
In doing so, an FA tribunal ruled that Wood “influenced a football betting market” as two people known to the player placed bets on both matches that gambling operators flagged up as “atypical in the context of the caution betting market,” according to the FA’s written judgement.
In its statement, the FA concluded: “The gravamen of the case against Mr Wood is that he planned to be cautioned, told personal acquaintances of that plan so that they and others to whom the information was passed placed bets.
“The data supplied by betting organisations has revealed what is said to be unusual bets being placed on Mr Wood being cautioned in both matches. Two of those placing the bets are said to have close personal involvement with Mr Wood.
“It is said that the bets were atypical in the context of the caution betting market, and in relation to the betting history of those placing the bets. The potential winnings (some were not paid) totalled approximately £10,000.”
The FA also outlined that in the two matches a total of seven individuals made bets that Mr Wood would be cautioned, in each case those individuals’ bets were atypical both in relation to their personal betting history – none had previously placed bets in the caution betting market; and in relation to the caution betting market – the size of the bets made them stand out. Additionally, William Hill also revealed that they had never seen four figure sum being placed on the card market before, and Sky Bet revealed it was incredibly rare.
The Chief executive of Lincoln, Liam Scully reacted to the FA’s decision: “This football club takes its own integrity, and the integrity of football as whole, extremely seriously so were shocked and saddened to be informed of the allegations.”
He added: “We acted quickly when we were first informed and have, at the request of the FA and for the sake of Bradley Wood, kept the allegations private until the matter was resolved.
“We wholeheartedly condemn any behaviour which could tarnish the reputation of football as a sport and have given the FA our complete support in conducting the investigation.
“It is important to note, however, that these charges relate to the individual actions of a single player and it is accepted by everyone that they played no part in the results of games. We are relieved the matter has now been brought to a conclusion.”
One of Wood’s key defences was that in the Ipswich game, he didn’t receive a booking until the 90th minute, adding that the foul was professional foul and was not one that sought out deliberately. The full written reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission are available from the FA’s website.