Darren Bent has claimed that the punishment handed to Leeds United midfielder Jordan Stevens over his breach of betting regulations is a case of double standards, in comparison to the punishment given to former Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge for a similar offence.
It was announced earlier in the week that the 19-year-old Stevens had been banned from any involvement in football for six weeks, after the teenager admitted that he had placed bets on a number of games in a nine-month period.
In contrast to Stevens’ punishment, Sturridge was given a six-week ban with four weeks suspended when he was found guilty of a similar offence earlier this year, with the 30-year-old also allowed to participate in training during that time, unlike Stevens, and while Sturridge was also fined £75,000, Bent appears to feel that the teenager has been hard done by when comparing the two punishments.
Asked if this was an example of double standards from the FA, the former England striker told Football Insider: “A little bit, obviously, Sturridge was allowed to train and this young kid’s not.
Despite having sympathy for Stevens, Bent does seem to feel that this is something the midfielder still needs to address, as he added: “The only saving grace I’d say is that he’s young. He will get over this, he will get past it. He knows he can’t let this happen again, I don’t even know how it came out and how he got caught.
“It’s not a good look, for someone so young, it’s not a good look.”
Stevens had made just a single senior appearance so far Leeds in his career, which came as a substitute in a 2-1 loss against Stoke City in January this year.
The midfielder’s contract with Leeds is currently set to expire at the end of this season.
I do agree with Bent to an extent here.
When you look at the punishments received by both Stevens and Sturridge, the Leeds man does seem to have a right to feel slightly hard done by here.
At just 19-years-of-age, this is a player who is still trying to make his way in the game, so surely it would be better to allow Leeds to keep him involved during his ban, in order to give himself the best possible chance of reintegrating into the club.
Indeed, you could even argue that with Stevens not able to train or do anything football-related for six weeks, this is the sort of time where boredom sets in, and that can sometimes see players turn to things such as gambling as a way to keep themselves occupied.