Football, betting, Rick Parry and the EFL

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By Andrew Vaughan

First and foremost, well done to the Wigan Athletic fan that grabbed the audio of the English Football League (EFL) chairman, Rick Parry, discussing a rumour concerning the Wigan Athletic owners.
However, lets not get too carried away. If it’s true that the owners were betting on their own team to get relegated then it is huge. But until then just treat it as what it is – and that is an unsubstantiated rumour relayed by the EFL chairman, Parry.
As an aside – and I have absolute zero evidence of this but – it is naive to think that chairpersons and executives of football clubs have never laid a bet against their own club. It isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do and while it is quite rightly considered immoral – if not illegal – within the sporting world, for some it is probably worth the risk on occasion(s).
In this instance, my main take from the short clip isn’t the content of the video but the fact that Parry has got himself into this position.
This isn’t some wet-behind-the-ears graduate but a man that has been chairman of the Premier League and Liverpool FC. Why on earth is he telling a person he doesn’t know possible rumours about Wigan Athletic’s administration.
When I worked for one of the major football institutions I signed something akin to the Official Secrets Act and I kept schtum. I still keep schtum, Why shouldn’t I? While I heard a few juicy bits of gossip and fact (and some rumours) there was nothing illegal in it but most of it was tittle tattle.
There are obviously people leaking stuff from such institutions but in general very few said anything. In fact football was rarely if ever mentioned – especially on a night out, when the gossip flows. So how on earth Parry got duped into talking about this when emotions are running high I don’t know.
In football parlance the EFL are on a terrible run – from the handling of the Bolton Wanderers and Bury situations to the pig’s ear they have made of their response to the ending of the season due to the Covid-19 crisis. Parry’s candour here may on one hand be applauded but on the other can be seen as foolhardy.
He should have said something along the lines of: “I’m really sorry, I know you’re upset, but you have to appreciate I can’t talk to you about this.
“We have issued a statement and we will continue to talk to the administrators.”
He could even have added that his and the EFL’s desire is not to lose a football club during the Covid crisis as per his interview with Henry Winter in The Times the day before.
A comment from him that appeared to lose all credibility 24 hours later when the EFL rushed out the statement that they were deducting 12 points from Wigan Athletic. The video of Parry talking just feels like another dreadful mistake from the EFL. Maybe another nail in their coffin. Most definitely yet another indication that football’s leadership quite simply isn’t up to it.
As a Wigan Athletic fan my only concern is that we get out of this mess. Then it’s a case of taking the EFL to account, questioning their suitability to run their section of the game and changing it. If that doesn’t happen then we are doomed as football is about to change forever and the EFL have proved over and over again to be completely incapable of doing their job.  

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