Ghana defender Alexander Djiku has been shockingly banned by the French football authorities for engaging in sports betting activities following an in-depth investigation.
The highly-respected centre-back was handed a one-match ban by the Professional Football League (LFP) in France after investigations concluded over widespread betting by players and officials.
Djiku, who was part of the Black Stars team at the recent 2022 World Cup in Qatar, was among 76 professional players, team officials and coaches who were fingered following the invesitgation.
The ban relates to Djiku’s betting activities during the 2020-2021 season despite an extensive educational campaign to make players and officials aware of dangers of being involved in betting on matches.
Players and officials of football are prohibited from betting on matches whether they are involved on those game or not anywhere in the world.
The ban does not suggest that he betted on matches involving the Ghana national team but it damages his clean reputation in the game as he had been widely seen as a disciplined player.
“These offenses were committed even though, together, the LFP and the UNFP (the players’ union) have carried out awareness or information campaigns with the clubs on a daily basis ,” wrote the LFP in its press release.
“The Commission recalls that the actors of the competitions organized by the FFF or the LFP (in particular the players, coaches, managers of professional football clubs) have a general ban on betting, online or in physical networks, on all football competitions , whether domestic or foreign.” the statement added.
The Strasbourg centre-back will miss the return of the Ligue 1 matches over the serious offence and he will be absent for the big clash with giants PSG because of the ban.
The sanction on Djiku will also damage his chances of signing for a new club as most team would be wary of signing players who have for the history of being involved in betting.
The Professional Football League sanctioned the players, officials and coaches on Monday evening for non-compliance with the sports betting ban during the 2020-2021 season.
Several Ligue 1 players were also fingered in the report after the body carried out the invesigation for the 2020-2021 season.
A rain of sanctions fell on professional footballers in France. The LFP sanctioned 76 players, coaches and managers on Monday evening. The latter did not respect the ban on sports betting during the 2020-2021 season, included in the Sport Code.
Several French Ligue 1 players sanctioned
PSG women’s goalkeeper coach Guillaume Lemire received the heaviest penalty – four-match suspension and a fine of €1,000.
Among the players, Samy El Khiar, midfielder at Quevilly-Rouen, is the most severely sanctioned: four-match suspension and a suspended fine of €2,000.
Five Ligue 1 players were also punished: Auxerre goalkeeper Donovan Léon is suspended for five games, three of which are suspended.
Irvin Cardona, the Brest striker (four matches including two suspended and a €1,500 fine), Sacha Delaye, Montpellier midfielder, and Alexander Djiku, Strasbourg defender (one match suspension) also miss the return of the Ligue 1.
Jean-Charles Castelletto, defender of Nantes, is under threat of a heavy suspension: four suspended matches.