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Rangers midfielder Ian Black banned over betting breaches

Rangers midfielder Ian Black has been handed an immediate three-match ban after he admitted betting his own team would not win on three occasions over a seven-year period.

lack was also hit with a £7,500 fine and suspended seven-match ban, which would be triggered if he repeated a similar offence, following a Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing.

The former Inverness and Hearts player admitted betting on three matches on his then-registered club not to win and betting on a further 10 games that involved his own club.

However, his lawyer later stated that such bets had generally been included in accumulators for minor stakes.

Black will now face an anxious wait to see the reaction of his club, who released a non-committal statement on the outcome.

Black also admitted betting on a further 147 football matches - which breaches the SFA's zero-tolerance approach to gambling - for which he received a warning.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, Black's lawyer, Liam O'Donnell, said: "I wish to clarify that Ian Black received a censure in respect of betting on 147 games that did not involve his own team.

"He received a 10-match ban (seven suspended to the end of the season) in relation to 13 games involving his own team.

"In fairness the general nature of these bets was relatively small sums on fixed-odds coupons and multiple-game accumulators."

Soon after the verdict, Black's club released a statement which read: "Rangers Football Club notes today's verdict by the Judicial Panel which has imposed a 10-match ban and £7,500 fine on Ian Black.

"Three of the matches will be served immediately - meaning the player would miss games against Arbroath, Queen of the South and Forfar - and a further seven games will be suspended until the end of the 2013/14 season.

"Black would be free to return to action against Stenhousemuir on Saturday, September 28, 2013."

On the day Black was handed his notice of complaint, Rangers said they were "currently investigating the matter".

The charges against the player related to bets made between March 4, 2006 and July 28, 2013.

On the first date mentioned, Black played 90 minutes for Inverness in a 1-0 home defeat by Motherwell, which cut Caley Thistle's lead over the Lanarkshire side to three points in the race for a top-six place in the Scottish Premier League.

The final date in question saw the 28-year-old score in a 4-0 Ramsdens Cup victory for Rangers against Albion Rovers.

The former Blackburn trainee signed for boyhood heroes Hearts in July 2009 and left for Rangers last summer after the Tynecastle club slashed their wage bill.

The disciplinary tribunal outcome stated that there was no evidence to suggest any breach of another SFA rule, which prohibits players and officials knowingly behaving in a "manner, during or in connection with a match in which the party has participated or has any influence, either direct or indirect, which could give rise to an event in which they or any third party benefits financially through betting".

Since Black was charged, many within Scottish football claimed they had been unaware of the SFA's zero-tolerance approach to gambling, which restricts players from betting on any football match, anywhere in the world.

And PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart, who represented Black today along with his football advisor Barry Hughes, echoed calls from Rangers manager Ally McCoist for a debate on the rules.

Speaking to reporters after the Hampden hearing, Wishart said: "One of the tings that's important to stress, although Ian Black is the player in the dock today, this is not just about football players.

"This includes managers, coaches, directors, chief executives, owners, referees and includes clubs themselves, if they bet on the outcome of their game.

"So I think we need to have an open and frank discussion."

Wishart, who refused to comment on Black's case, added: "I have been telling people that in my time in the game as a player, nobody ever told me about club rules or rules that affected me.

"Perhaps the players need to take a bit of responsibility for that, but I think every stakeholder in the game, including ourselves at the players' union, have to take responsibility for that.

"We have been out to the majority of clubs in the last two or three years but beyond that, it's now in the public domain, everyone knows the rules. Let's have a chat about it, let's have a debate."

ends

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