Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s transfer moves in January 2018 is reportedly central to the Football Association misconduct charge for an alleged breach of their betting rules.
The 29-year-old has stressed to his club he “categorically has never gambled on football” and it was understood a lengthy investigation by the FA has centred around his temporary switch to West Brom on January 29.
However, a report in the Daily Telegraph claims the FA’s probe actually centres around a move which never materialised for the striker.
The paper says the FA are investigating an alleged five-figure bet which was placed on Sturridge leaving Anfield for Inter Milan during the period the Liverpool striker is being investigated for.
The transfer to Inter, obviously, never came about – but the suspicious activity is said to be behind the FA’s decision to look into Sturridge and slap him with the charge.
Sturridge was charged on Monday with breaches in relation to rule rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and rule E8(1)(b), during the period of January 2018.
Rule E8(1)(a) states: “A participant shall not bet, directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, selection or disciplinary matters.”
Rule E8(1)(b) refers to passing on information which can be used for betting purposes.
The exact wording of the rule says: “Where a participant provides to any person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting.”
A spokesman for Liverpool said: “Daniel has also stated categorically that he has never gambled on football.
“As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment.”
In late January Sturridge, who had also been linked to Sevilla, held talks with Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez but opted to join West Brom as he was born in Birmingham and had family ties there, which was the main influence on his decision.
However, he made just six appearances for West Brom in the second half of the season after injury sidelined him for two months early in his spell at The Hawthorns.
Sturridge has until November 20 to respond to the charge. If found guilty he could be fined or even suspended, depending on the severity of the breach.