FA report reveals just how close Daniel Sturridge was to joining Newcastle United - as the striker is handed six week ban after betting hearing

The Football Association report into former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s breach of betting rules reveals just how close the England international came to joining Newcastle United.

Thursday, 11th July 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 2:47 pm
MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 31: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool during a training session at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 31, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Sturridge, now a free agent after his release by Liverpool, was today banned from playing football for two weeks (four weeks suspended) and fined £75,000, after being found guilty of breaching betting rules.

And the ‘Decision of a regulatory commission of the Football Association’ documents released today reveal text conversations that took place between Sturridge, family members and friends, which show the 29-year-old not only breached rules, but also came within a whisker of heading to St James’s Park in January 2018.

The report states: “On Friday 26 January, Newcastle United contacted Dean about a potential loan move, suggesting there might be some movement from Newcastle later that night. Dean (Sturridge, his uncle and agent) forwarded the message to Daniel at 6pm.”

It continued: “At 9.03pm, Dean sent Daniel a screenshot of skybet odds on Daniel transferring during the January window. These included West Brom at 20/1 and Newcastle at 33/1. Dean commented “Get on Newcastle now!!”.”

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Two days later, on January 28, the report continues: “At 6.21pm, Daniel spoke by telephone to Rafa Benitez, the Newcastle manager about a move to Newcastle. At 6.44pm, there was a facetime call from Grace (his mother) to Leon (Sturridge’s brother), which lasted over six minutes. It is likely that other family members present at Grace and Michael’s (his father) home chipped in with their views as to what decision Daniel should make regarding whether to leave Liverpool and, if so, to which club. At 7.25pm, Daniel had a call with Alan Pardew, the West Brom manager.”

Sturridge, of course, did join the Baggies in a temporary deal that window. The report continues: “The following day, Monday 29 January, Alan Pardew messaged Mr Sturridge at 9.06am expressing his hope that Daniel would move to West Brom and asking for an answer before noon.

“At 10.11am, Mr Sturridge continued his WhatsApp exchange with X from the previous evening. At 10.46am, X asked, “What did Dean say last night”. Mr Sturridge replied, “Everyone said WBA/Dad leon grandad dean and mom/Only person no was Cherelle”. X then placed three more bets between 10.59am and 11.38am of £20, £100, and £36.82 respectively on Mr Sturridge moving to West Brom.

“At 10.58am, Daniel forwarded to Dean the message that he had received that morning from Alan Pardew. At 11am, Dean asked Daniel “Where your head at?”. Daniel replied at 11.02am, “Still in deep thought. I think it’s the best option although historically Newcastle are a better team. I think I’d play every week at either club but I agree in that WBA are probably a better side in the sense of players playing with Me.” “Especially formation wise which is always key. I think it’s important for me to play at this point. I can’t think or wait on something coming from left field when I’ve no idea what will happen really and truly.”

“At 11.47am, Mr Sturridge messaged Alan Pardew to confirm that he agreed to move to West Brom. In the afternoon, he passed a medical, completed the paperwork and signed for West Brom.”

The independent regulatory commission found just two of 11 charges against him were proved to be accurate, regarding Sturridge instructing brother Leon to bet on a move to Sevilla.

The FA said it "respectfully disagrees with the regulatory commission's findings and will be appealing against the charges which were dismissed and the sanction which was imposed".

The other nine charges included accusations the player had passed on inside information regarding potential switches to Inter Milan and West Brom.

Due to four of the six weeks being suspended, provided he does not breach regulations again, he will be free to play on July 31.