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Gambling ‘rife in Scottish football’ – PFA Scotland chairman Rankin

The Scottish League Cup is sponsored by bookmaker Betfred

Gambling is “rife” in Scottish football with managers, referees, directors and chairmen all involved, according to PFA Scotland chairman John Rankin.

His comments come in the wake of former Manchester City, Rangers and QPR player Joey Barton being banned for 18 months for breaking rules on gambling.

Players’ union chief Rankin, who plays for Queen of the South, said: “We’ve imposed bans, that’s not stopping it,

“It’s rife, we’re not hiding from it. The majority are probably doing it.”

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has announced that its sponsorship of the Scottish Professional Football League will continue next season amid news that the Scottish Football Supporters Association urged a review of the game’s links with gambling.

The Scottish football leagues, Scottish Cup, League Cup and some clubs are sponsored by gambling companies.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound, Rankin claimed: “It’s not just players who are gambling. Managers, referees, directors, chairmen, they’ve all got inside knowledge.

“Are you telling me they don’t have betting accounts? I would suggest they have.”

PFA Scotland chairman John Rankin (left) is currently playing for Queen of the South

Queen of the South midfielder Rankin admitted that Scottish football was reliant on sponsorship from betting companies.

Betting industry expert Scott Longley agreed and said: “A lot of clubs further down the leagues wouldn’t be able to survive without the money that was coming to them via these sponsorships deals, whether that be shirt sponsorships or betting partnerships.”

Their views came as Ladbrokes announced that it had agreed a one-year contract to continue its backing of the SPFL for a third season.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Ladbrokes has been a terrific and supportive lead sponsor for the SPFL over the last two years.

“We are thrilled to extend the partnership for next season, which is another clear message of confidence in Scottish football.”

Ladbrokes Coral chief executive Jim Mullen said: “We are passionate about the game and our love of football has helped to make the past two seasons hugely rewarding.”

Meanwhile, former Motherwell and St Johnstone winger Kevin Twaddle, who has written about his gambling addiction, suggested that Barton had been made a scapegoat.

“There are more and more high-profile footballers seeking help from gambling addiction,” he said.

Former Hibernian and Dundee striker Tam McManus admitted that he had once bet against his own team while playing for Derry City.

A Scottish Football Association spokesman said that “the rules are clear and apply to players, referees and directors”.

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