CHIPPENHAM Town footballer Karnell Chambers has been sacked after he placed bets on matches including 300 involving his own club.

This week club chairman Neil Blackmore spoke of his sadness at finding out that the striker had been investigated by the Football Association and found to have placed illegal bets.

He said: “It is against FA rules for a player to bet on any football matches but it was far worse that Karnell placed bets on matches he played in and as a forward could have an influence on the game.

“Once we were told the facts we had no choice but to terminate his contract. We called him in for an interview but he did not say very much or explain why he was doing it.

“I was surprised as he is a nice lad and no trouble.”

On Twitter Chambers said: “Been a great two years at Chippenham. Had many great memories thanks to all the support from everyone at the club and to the fans who believed in me every week.”

Mr Blackmore said that after Chambers was originally suspended while he was investigated manager Mike Cook spoke to all the players in the dressing room before last Tuesday evenings game.

Mr Blackmore said: “He told them what had happened and said that if anyone else had been gambling now was the time to own up. No-one came forward. We wanted the players to know the facts as otherwise they would have wondered where he was as they knew he wasn’t injured.”

Advice and support for players tempted by gambling is available through the FA and Mr Blackmore urged anyone tempted to get in touch.

He said that Chambers had three different on-line betting accounts and after the FA had become suspicious about his actions full details of all his betting habits were handed over.

A spokesman for Chippenham Town said on Friday: “Karnell’s contract with the club has been terminated with immediate effect.

“After consideration of the facts provided by the FA and interviewing Karnell, the board decided that placing bets on Chippenham Town games in which he participated, left the Board and Management Team with a complete lack of trust and confidence in the player and as such amounted to gross misconduct.

“Whilst the FA are yet to make their decision on the matter, the club fully upholds the FA stance on not permitting players or club officials to place bets on football games, especially ones where they could influence the result of the game.”

Chambers joined Chippenham in March 2018 and has been a regular in the starting line-up.

The sacking of Chambers highlights the problem of gambling in football. In a study of almost 350 footballers and cricketers conducted by the Professional Players’ Federation results suggested sportspeople were three times more likely than the general public to be problem gamblers.

High profile cases of footballers who have struggled with gambling problems include Joey Barton, John Hartson, Keith Gillespie, and Dietmar Hamann.

One in 10 sportsmen interviewed by the PPF said they gambled to “fit in”, one in four said they were encouraged by team-mates to do it, and nearly one in three thought their team’s links with the gambling industry encouraged them to bet.