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Non league player hit with 10-month ban by the FA

A non league player has this week been rocked with the news that he’s been hit with a 10-month ban by the Football Association.

Newmarket Town have learned that they will be without one of their key players for majority of next season as he is punished from all football-related activity due to betting breaches.

Joe Robinson, who has been described as an influential defender, learned his punishment during a personal hearing with the FA.

They found that the former Ipswich centre-back had placed a series of bets on football matches going as far back as 2016 from an online account belonging to the 23-year-old.

He joined Eastern Counties League Premier Division outfit Newmarket last summer from newly promoted King’s Lynn Town and has also made appearances for Boston United, Bishop’s Stortford and Cambridge City.

FA rules currently states that footballers, management and committee members from clubs at Step 4 and above are not allowed to make a bet on any football, while players from all levels cannot bet on matches in which they are involved.

The offences came after one bookmaker offered odds via their website as Newmarket hosted a pre-season friendly against Soham Town Rangers back in July 2019, yes, you can really place bets on matches that far down the non league pyramid.

It has prompted an investigation, which found that a bet on that fixture was placed from the player’s account, however it was cashed out prior to kick off.

The case against Robinson was allowed to go ahead after the loosening of the coronavirus lockdown rules, and now the defender will not be available for selection for any team until April 2021.

Newmarket boss Michael Shinn accepts that a suspension was inevitable, but has been left disappointed by the lack of support his player has received.

“I understand they have to hand out bans, but there has been no help or guidance for Joe throughout all of this,” he said.

“Nobody has contacted him or myself with advice, things to work on, people to contact or things like that to help.

“That has been disappointing and frustrating because it has been hanging over him for the last 12 months – that is a long time.

“It doesn’t sit well at all – there should be a lot more support given in this type of situation. We, as a club, will fully support Joe throughout this time.”

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Back in February 2020, Soham Town Rangers’ management team and their playing squad were previously also punished with fines and suspensions after being found guilty of betting offences in the wake of the friendly with Newmarket.

Striker Matthew Allan has been suspended from all football-related activity for six months and handed a £250 fine, after breaching FA Rule E8 after placing 254 bets on football matches between January 27, 2017 and November 3, 2019.

Teammate Callum Russell, also in breach of FA Rule E8 in respect of 1,593 bets placed on football matches between August 27, 2015 and October 28, 2019, was handed a two-month suspension from all football-related activity, with the last month suspended for two years.

Manager Robbie Mason and assistant Erkan Okay have also been fined £300 each for their betting activities between August 9, 2014 – December 22, 2018 and August 10, 2014 and August 12, 2017.

Versatile midfielder/attacker Marcus Hall was handed a fine worth a total of £4,400 after placing a huge amount of bets, 6,314 in total on football matches between the 1st of August 2014 and the 10th of September, 2019.

In a statement published in February 2020, Isthmian League North Division side Soham Town Rangers said: “Since last summer, the committee and players of Soham Town Rangers Football Club have been supporting FA investigations into football betting.

“From the start, our club has been proven to have acted in good faith, including an FA discussion evening pre-season for all players.

“As a result of the investigations, some individual players have been found guilty of breaching the FA rules and have been punished accordingly.

“Soham Town Rangers fully acknowledge the punishments and support the FA in all matters.

“Our club will continue to co-operate with the FA in any way requested. As this is a continuing investigation, we will make no further comment at this time.

“We will leave the FA to publish what they wish with nothing coming from our club regarding any player.”

Fans have reacted after finding out that Newmarket’s non league player has been hit with a 10-month ban…

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