England international footballer Kieran Trippier breached Football Association (FA) rules and regulations by advising a friend to bet on him transferring to Spanish club Atlético Madrid.
The FA initially handed a 10-week suspension and £70,000 (€77,391/$95,479) fine to Trippier in response to the activity, which it said breached FA Rule E8(1)(b), which bars players from disclosing information about potential transfers.
Trippier denied the charges and requested a personal hearing, which led to the FA carrying out a full investigation and publishing its reasons for the charges in full.
The defender, who has 25 international caps for England, joined Atlético Madrid from English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in July 2019.
Days before the transfer was confirmed, Trippier is said to have sent a number of message to friends via WhatsApp informing them of the move.
Published by the FA in its official report on the case, the first conversation shows Trippier telling one friend that the transfer should go through within a matter of days.
Two minutes after the exchange, Trippier’s friend – referred to only as OH in the report – placed two bets of £22 each at odds of 5/6 of the transfer going through.
In the second conversation cited by the FA, Trippier told another friend – MB – to “lump on” the transfer after confirming that the move was “100%” going to go ahead.
The following day, Trippier sent another message to a WhatsApp group saying that the deal was “nearly done”. Shortly after, OH placed bets of £100 and £120 of odds at 5/6 for the transfer to happen, as well as £8.75 and £20, both at odds of 1/2.
Later the same day, Trippier messaged another WhatsApp group to say the deal had been completed. Shortly after, OH placed a bet of £300 at odds of 4/11, and another friend, referred to as J, a £25 wager at 8/13.
The following day, Trippier again messaged the group to say he was travelling to Spain to complete a medical and sign his contract. One friend, known as B in the report, then bet £80.34 at odds of 3/10 on the transfer, while OH bet £20 at 1/3 and £300 at 1/6.
The FA heard responses from Trippier and his friends during the hearing, as well as witness statements from a number of professionals in the game, including England national team manager Gareth Southgate and England captain and former Tottenham teammate Harry Kane.
Arguing his case, Trippier stated that the messages were meant to be “banter” between him and his friends, and he had not intended to provide inside information on the potential transfer.
The FA dismissed this, saying the messages were not banter, with the player’s friends “seeking reassurance” that they should bet on the transfer, and Trippier provided this reassurance with his messages.
However, the FA did accept that when the bets were placed, the odds were low, while it also took into account Trippier’s disciplinary record, character and the remorse he showed.
Trippier faced an initial seven charges in response to the rule breaches, but after analysing evidence and hearing the player’s response, the FA only upheld four of these charges, dismissing the other three
As such, his ban was reduced to four weeks, though this has been suspending pending an appeal, while the £70,000 fine will remain.