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03-Mar-2020, 01:50 am

Sturridge 'devastated' after lengthy ban imposed for betting breach

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool

Former England and Liverpoool striker Daniel Sturridge says he is "devastated" after being banned from all football related activity until the middle of June.

Sturridge, who most recently played for Trabzonspor in Turkey, was originally handed a ?75,000 fine and a six-week suspension in July of 2019 for breaching betting regulations.

But the FA has decided that the Regulatory Commission's punishment was "unduly lenient" and imposed the longer ban as well doubling his fine to ?150,000.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Sturridge said: "It was very disappointing and upsetting for me to hear the news that the appeal panel had overturned the original, highly-qualified panel's ruling.

"Devastating for me, I'm absolutely gutted about it. My season's over."

The 30-year-old added: "I just want to say it's been a very long, drawn out process over the last couple of years, and difficult to concentrate on my football. It's also been a crazy few days, to be fair.

"I just want to say that I'm going to continue to campaign for professional footballers to be able to speak to their families and close friends freely, without the real risk of being charged.

"The betting companies and the process of people being able to place bets on people moving clubs has to be stopped. Although the appeal panel had recognised that I hadn't bet, nobody else had bet, I was still charged."

Sturridge has mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the Turkish club and added: "I feel uncomfortable, and I just don't think it's the right thing for me to continue accepting wages from a team that I can't contribute to due to being banned.

"I have come to a mutual agreement with Trabzonspor to mutually terminate my contract.

"I would just like to thank the Trabzonspor family, the players, the fans, coaching staff, medical team, president, vice-president. I'm very grateful for you inviting me into your city and allowing me to enjoy my football.

"Also I want to thank everybody who is supporting me and sending me so many well-wishes. It is very much appreciated at a difficult time for me. I appreciate that and I'm very grateful, so thank you very much."

Sturridge is alleged to have told his brother in a family WhatsApp group to place a bet on him joining Sevilla from Liverpool.

The move failed to materialise, however, and the player moved to West Brom instead.

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