After an FA investigation, football manager Nick Bunyard has been banned from football until July 2019.
The now former Frome Town boss admitted to placing 97 bets at an FA hearing at Wembley. Of those, 45 were against the Evo-Stik Southern Premier side and his previous club, Paulton Rovers. The FA rules prevent anyone involved in football betting on the game at any level, anywhere in the world.
Bunyard joined the Somerset based club in August 2015, but his reign didn’t last long. In April 2016, he was suspended pending the FA’s investigation which has since found him guilty. The 36 year old now faces an extended time away from the game and has also been hit with a £3,000 fine for breaching betting rules.
After the hearing, Bunyard told the Western Daily Press, “It’s all left a bad taste in the mouth and I’m somewhat disillusioned with football. I’ve given a lot to the game and never taken a wage.”
“I’ve accepted that I have on occasions bet on us to lose and that it was done via insider knowledge, but that’s not to say I wanted us to lose.”
“I fully co-operated with the FA from the start and said that 99 per cent of footballers bet on the game and do so in far bigger volumes than I do. I could have tried to hide things and been dishonest but chose not to.”
He continued to suggest that the FA were to blame for his misgivings, “The FA have never properly sent to clubs information about how regulations changed and I was never given anything official, that you couldn’t bet on a certain standard of non-league football. I find it difficult to stomach that it was never officially disclosed what the severity of the bans would be, so people have just gone on betting”
During his response to the ban, Bunyard stated “betting at non-league level is rife.” This comment is supported by a number of players and managers being found guilty of betting over recent years within the Non-League pyramid. Earlier this year, Lewis Smith was handed a £23k fine (https://nonleagueoracle.com/2016/03/06/lewis-smith-hit-with-23000-fine/) and Martin Pilkington was banned for 4 years (https://nonleagueoracle.com/2016/07/22/martin-pilkington-breaks-betting-rules-should-the-fa-do-more/), following bets placed on football matches.
This problem isn’t just an issue within Non-League, but with betting patterns watched more closely in the higher echelons of football and semi-professional players being more in need of extra cash, the temptation to break regulations seems greater in grassroots. Clearly more needs to be done, but for Frome Town and Paulton Rovers supporters, understandably they will feel let down by Bunyard’s actions.