Paul Scholes insists he made a “genuine mistake” in breaching Football Association betting rules while co-owner and director at Salford.
The 44-year-old has been fined £8,000 and warned about his future conduct after admitting the charge at a regulatory commission hearing, which found the former Manchester United midfielder “had not acquainted himself with the rules”.
“I accept last week’s ruling. I would like to apologise and I understand and fully accept the fine imposed by the FA,” the ex-England international said in a statement.
“It was a genuine mistake and was not done with any deliberate intention to flout the rules.
“I wrongly believed that as long as there was no personal connection between me and any of the matches that I bet upon then there would be no issue.
“However, I understand now that this is not the case and I should have taken steps to verify this at the time.”
Scholes was charged by the FA in April for placing 140 bets on matches between August 2015 and January this year.
He had quit as a Salford director two months earlier – albeit retaining his 10 per cent shareholding – in order to take over as manager of Sky Bet League Two club Oldham, lasting just 31 days before walking out.
In the written reasons of the regulatory commission, it was revealed that the FA was alerted to potential breaches by a betting company in January 2019, with other UK-based betting companies subsequently contacted by the governing body for details of any accounts in Scholes’ name that showed similar breaches.
Although none of the 140 bets concerned Salford, eight involved former club Manchester United, with the commission noting Scholes “remains acquainted with Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, who were working at Manchester United at the time”.
One bet was placed on Valencia beating Barcelona, at a time when Scholes’ Salford associates and friends Gary and Phil Neville were working for the Mestalla club.
Eight other bets involved FA Cup matches, although they were made after Salford had been knocked out of the cup.
Scholes’ total stakes over the period amounted to £26,159, with a net profit of £5,831.
Despite subsequently being personally warned by the bookmaker who originally raised the alarm that his betting activity was potentially in breach of the FA rules, effectively closing his account, Scholes was found to have tried to place more bets through that account and also opened a new account with a different firm in January 2019.
“It was apparent to the commission that PS (Scholes) had not acquainted himself with the rules despite his role in football and despite having effectively been notified by PPBF (Paddy Power Betfair) that he was potentially in breach of them,” said the commission’s report.
“We therefore considered it appropriate to warn him in relation to his future conduct.”