Sutton’s dream run in the FA Cup has been one of the highlights of the season. However, on Tuesday, a dark shadow was cast over this when keeper Wayne Shaw was asked to resign by the club. This was following a stunt by Shaw which saw him eating a pie on the Sutton bench. This prompted an investigation into whether or not betting regulations were breached. Furthermore, this has led to much discussion on the ethics of the situation but surely common sense must prevail.
Firstly, you have to consider what is being investigated. A joint investigation between the FA and the Gambling Commission are investigating whether Shaw breached betting rules with his stunt. This was after Shaw revealed that some of his friends had put bets on the incident. However, one question has to be asked. Why was this made into a market on a betting website? This quite clearly doesn’t fall into the same bracket as a cricketer deliberately bowling a no-ball.
This has no real effect on the game and in fact is a nasty attack on Shaw. Shaw doesn’t match the stereotype of a footballer and through this bet, he is getting made fun of by those in the betting world. So why should Shaw allow them to have the last laugh? Not only does he send a statement through this but it allows him to get his own back at those who making fun of him. Where is the FA and Gambling Commission’s investigation into a man getting abused by betting establishments? Surely that is far more unethical as it discriminates against a person. The short answer is that there isn’t one. The FA would rather punish a man who is quite clearly the victim in all of this.
Secondly, you must look at the betting companies, this isn’t something which would have happened by chance. In the past, there has been markets on what Jim White will say first on Deadline Day and various other markets such as this. These aren’t things that are down to chance such as a result of a game but are down to choice.
Although Shaw’s friends may have bets on it, it is still a conscious choice. If you are willing to make a market on this then you have to deal with the consequences. This simply seems like the bully getting his comeuppance and wanting revenge. If this turns out to be something more sinister and not just a joke between friends I will take it back. But if turns out that it is just a few mates who are benefiting from the stupidity of gambling companies then surely that can’t be punishable. Common sense must prevail.
A final point must be made to Sutton who failed to stick by their loyal servant. By sacking Shaw they have shown a real lack of respect to a man who has given everything for the club. It really is an awful shame that such a brilliant cup run has to end like this. Surely it would show more of the community spirit of non- league football to keep him and support him. By doing this, they have quite simply thrown him to the dogs. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and people will realise that this was just a bit of fun which has gone wrong. Nothing has been done which has brought the game into disrepute. So hopefully no action will be taken, however, I’m not hopeful.