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Trippier case: a very British exhibition of Fair Play


A year and a half ago Kieran Trippier signed for Atlético Madrid. Shortly before the move from Tottenham was made official, his brother-in-law placed a 1,000-pound bet on that eventuality, at odds of 10/1. As a result, the Football Association banned the England international for 10 weeks, with Atlético bearing the brunt of that punishment. Whether or not Trippier was aware of his brother-in-law’s visit to the bookies is unknown, because the full details of the ban have not been made public. All that was declared was contained in the statement posted on the FA website. What is known is that Trippier’s ban falls under the FIFA regulations concerning integrity, under which racism offences and betting infringements are governed.

The whole affair is as shocking as it is questionable. The rigidity of the laws concerning footballers and betting tied to their profession as player is designed to remove any temptation to engage in match-fixing. In that sense, it is right and just. But a transfer has no bearing on results, it is merely a matter relating to a player’s private life. And there is no reason to consider it strange that a player’s family should be aware of an upcoming change of club before the move enters the public domain. Viewed from that perspective, Trippier’s ban appears somewhat draconian, impeding him as it does not only from playing but also from even setting foot inside the club’s training complex.

Atlético will miss Trippier but England unaffected

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There’s more: Trippier’s ban also comes during a period when the England national team, for which the Atlético defender is a regular, has no scheduled fixtures. England’s next game is three weeks after his ban expires, which gives him ample time to regain form and fitness. His club, meanwhile, will lose him for 13 games, among them the Champions League meeting with Chelsea. In short, a very British display of devotion to the idea of Fair Play. Atlético have lodged an appeal with FIFA but with little genuine hope of success. For now, Trippier cannot train in case he is cleared to rejoin his side. The Spanish Football Federation has taken up the case and something may come of that because the whole thing smacks of an affront against a Spanish club on the part of the FA.