Matlock Town have been hit by the news that experienced first choice goalkeeper Jon Stewart has been banned by the Football Association following an investigation into a breach of FA Betting rules.
Former Alfreton Town, Worksop Town and Gainsborough Trinity stopper Stewart attended a hearing at Wembley on Friday with Matlock chief executive Keith Brown and Simon Barker from the PFA.
Stewart was suspended with immediate effect from all football and football related activities for four months with the final three months of the suspension being suspended for a period of two years from 21st December 2019.
“This means that Jon won’t be able to play or train with the club for the next month up to and including 21st December which is a serious blow to both Jon and the club, but he can return to football activities on 22nd December,” explained Mr Brown.
Footballers in the Premier and EFL leagues and those in steps 1-4 are, in accordance with FA rule E8, not allowed to place any bets whatsoever throughout the whole world of football and this is an area which the Football Association are focusing on very strongly. It is hoped that there will be more guidance provided to all in non-league football.
Stewart was unaware of the breach of rules which occurred over a period between October 2015 and April 2019 when very minor amounts were placed on matches across many footballing countries.
Stewart said he had no idea he was breaking any rules and had closed his account in April.
No bets have been placed since then or during his time at Matlock Town.
Mr Brown said that Stewart had been open and honest in responding to the allegations.
“The club were advised by the FA on 5th September that an investigation had taken place,” he explained.
“Jon has been open and honest throughout the process in responding to the allegations and I feel this has been reflected in the decision made by the FA.
“As a club we’ll be ensuring that all of our players fully understand the football betting rules while at the same time we will be looking for the relevant authorities to provide additional support and guidance to managers and players throughout steps 1-4 as carried out by the PFA at higher levels of the game.”