Daniel Sturridge has been banned from all football related activity until 17 June after the FA successfully appealed against his punishment for breaching its betting rules.
The former Liverpool striker said he was devastated by the four-month worldwide suspension that has brought an abrupt end to his time with the Turkish club Trabzonspor.
Sturridge was handed a six-week ban – with the final four weeks suspended – and fined £75,000 last July after being found guilty of providing his brother with inside information on a potential move from Liverpool to Sevilla in 2018.
The FA, however, claimed the sanction was too lenient and wanted a six-month worldwide ban to reflect the seriousness of the case. An independent appeal board backed the FA’s case and Sturridge has been banned for four months, his fine doubled to £150,000 and his three-year contract with Trabzonspor mutually terminated after six months.
In a statement the FA said: “Following an appeal by The FA of the previous findings of the independent regulatory commission in this case, an independent appeal board has found that the regulatory commission misapplied the FA’s rules in relation to the use of inside information and made findings of fact which could not be sustained. As a result, the appeal board has found proven two further charges which were originally dismissed.
“The appeal board agreed with the FA that the penalty originally imposed on Sturridge was unduly lenient and therefore increased his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months. The appeal board also doubled the fine to £150,000.” The governing body added: “Fifa has confirmed the suspension will be of worldwide effect.”
Sturridge, 30, was charged with 11 betting breaches in November 2018 and found guilty on two counts of telling his brother, Leon, to bet on a possible transfer to Sevilla. The move to Spain did not materialise and the former Manchester City and Chelsea forward joined West Brom on loan until the end of the 2017-18 season.
Almost £14,000 was wagered in total by people directly or indirectly connected to Sturridge and attempts were made to place a further £20,560 on potential moves for the striker in January 2018, although these were refused by betting companies. Had they been accepted and successful, they would have returned a further £317,006.
The appeal board upheld the FA’s appeal on two charges – relating to the potential Sevilla move and Sturridge providing a friend, Daniel Hemmings, with information about his switch to West Brom – meaning four of the original charges against the striker have been proven.
The FA argued there was a “family agreement” involving Sturridge and several relatives, whereby the striker would provide inside information about his potential transfers and his brother would use betting contacts to obtain the best possible odds.
Sturridge responded in a video message: “Although the appeal panel had recognised I hadn’t bet, I was still charged. It is very disappointing and upsetting to hear the appeal panel had overturned the original, highly qualified panel’s ruling. It is devastating for me and I am absolutely gutted about it.
“My season is over and I am devastated. I don’t think it’s acceptable for me to accept wages from a team I can’t contribute to due to being banned. I’ve come to a mutual agreement with Trabzonspor to mutually terminate my contract.”
The former England player joined Trabzonspor last August after his contract with Liverpool expired. Sturridge scored seven goals in 16 appearances for Trabzonspor, who top the table after 23 matches on goal difference.
A Trabzonspor statement said: “The contract has been mutually terminated. The player gave up all his forward-looking rights and receivables.”
Earlier, the club tweeted: “We thank Daniel Sturridge for his contributions to our club and wish him success in his career #thankyoudanielsturridge.”