Wayne Shaw, Sutton United’s 23-stone reserve goalkeeper, may have broken Football Association regulations on gambling after eating a pie during his side’s 2-0 FA Cup home defeat to Arsenal.
Sun Bets, The Sun newspaper’s sports betting website, offered a price of 8-1 on Shaw eating a pie “live on air” at any point during the televised fifth round tie at Gander Green Lane.
Shaw, who became something of a social media celebrity during Sutton’s run on account of his weight, duly consumed the meat-based savoury snack on camera during the second half after his side had used all three substitutions.
Speaking after the game, Shaw admitted that he knew about the Sun Bets offer, although he denied that he or any other Sutton player had placed a bet.
“A few of the lads said to me earlier on: ‘What is going on with the 8-1 about eating a pie? I said: ‘I don’t know, I’ve eaten nothing all day, so I might give it a go later on,’” he said.
“As I say what is that, Sun Bets had us at 8-1 to eat a pie. I thought I would give them a bit of banter and let’s do it. All the subs were on and we were 2-0 down.”
Shaw revealed that he took the pie in the club’s kitchen at half-time and confirmed that its contents were meat and potato.
When asked whether he knew of anyone who had placed a bet on him eating it, Shaw said: “I think there were a few people. Obviously we [Sutton’s players] are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans.
“It was just a bit of banter for them. It is something to make the occasion as well and you can look back and say it was part of it and we got our ticket money back,” he added.
The Football Association’s regulations on gambling dictate that a player should not “instruct, permit, cause or enable” any person to bet the “result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, a football match or competition.”
Players are also prohibited from relaying to others “any information relating to football” which has been “obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game”.
Paul Doswell, the Sutton manager, was not impressed by Shaw’s stunt, which he felt reflected poorly on the National League club.
“I think Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23 stone. He’s made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it,” he said.
“The reality is I don’t know [if Shaw did it for a bet] but it wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think it shows us in the best light.”
Sun Bets, the bookmakers in question, sponsored Sutton’s shirts and advertised around Gander Green Lane as part of a special one-off promotion for the visit of Arsenal.