Bilic hammers out the gambling message


Arsenal's Gervinho (L) scuffles with Newcastle United's Joey Barton resulting in his sending off during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle, northern England August 13, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

Slaven Bilic has made it clear publicly his squad are banned from gambling following Joey Barton’s 18-month suspension for placing 1260 bets.

Bilic said: “I haven’t reminded them. The players know it is a rule, like the rule that you can’t use your hands on the pitch.

“You can’t be involved in any sort of gambling, the players should know and they do – you don’t have to remind them.

“It is a big shame when a player does that because the suspension is severe but it’s his mistake and I don’t know why he did it.

“It is severe but it has got to be severe. I’m not happy to see any suspensions but when they make such a big mistake then they are the one to blame.”

Bilic admitted the issue of gambling remains a thorny one with so much advertising in the sport – including at his own club.

He added: ”Gambling is bigger now. It is a bit of hypocrisy as well. When I was playing I didn’t see a lot of adverts for gambling. Now, at half-time they are twice or three times and most of the adverts are for gambling.

“When I was playing players were also gambling and there wasn’t so much control. Now the FA are controlling it and have the instruments to find out.

“It’s a big business and nobody is stopping big businesses.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

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