LONDON — A 45-year-old backup goalkeeper used his team’s big moment against Arsenal to take part in a betting stunt.
A British newspaper’s betting company, which sponsored Sutton United for the game, had 8-1 odds that overweight reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw would eat a meat pie during Monday’s FA Cup match.
After Sutton had used all its substitutions and there was no chance Shaw would appear in the 2-0 loss to Arsenal, he munched on the pie while sitting on the bench. The footage of Shaw eating was broadcast on the BBC.
"I thought I would give them (the betting company) a bit of banter and let’s do it," Shaw told British media.
But the stunt has caught the attention of the body that regulates commercial gambling in Britain, and it is now investigating the incident.
"Integrity in sport is not a joke and we have opened an investigation to establish exactly what happened," Richard Watson, the Gambling Commission’s enforcement and intelligence director, said Tuesday.
"As part of that we’ll be looking into any irregularity in the betting market and establishing whether the operator has met its license requirement to conduct its business with integrity."
Sutton manager Paul Doswell was not pleased that one of his players had taken the shine off his team, which plays in the fifth tier of English soccer.
"Wayne has become this global superstar on the back of being 23 stone (322 pounds)," Doswell said. "He’s made that a chance to make some more media coverage off the back of it. I don’t think it shows us in the best light."
English Football Association rules prohibit players from betting on any "occurrence" in a match, although this incident did not take place on the field. There is no indication Shaw financially benefited himself.
"We’re not allowed to bet, but a few of the lads laid on," Shaw said Tuesday on a morning television show. "So hopefully there will be a pie and a pint in the local (pub) when I get back."