- Atlético Madrid manager says FA ‘benefits’ from 10-week ban
- Suspension ends in time for three England matches in March
Diego Simeone has described the Football Association’s decision to suspend Kieran Trippier for 10 weeks as “completely unjust”, accusing the English governing body of effectively benefiting from a ban handed to one of its own players. The Atlético Madrid manager wants the case to be reviewed and the club are investigating the possibility of launching a formal appeal.
Trippier was found guilty of breaching FA regulations on betting after a lengthy investigation that followed irregular betting patterns relating to his move from Tottenham to Atlético in July 2019. The FA charged the England full-back with alleged breaches of its rules that prevent players sharing inside information. The 30-year-old denied the allegations and insisted that he did not place any bets or profit from bets placed by others.
The full, written report has yet to be released but the FA announced the ban last Wednesday. Trippier has been fined £70,000 and suspended from all football-related activity for 10 weeks. He sat out Atlético’s 1-0 win over Getafe on Wednesday and will miss at least 12 more games for his club. He will not miss any games for England, who next play on 25 March, raising questions about the timing of the ban and whether the FA can rule on a process relating to its internal regulations and in which it is an interested party.
Atlético consider the ban disproportionate and believe it is unjust for it to fall solely upon them. Trippier will not be allowed to play or even train with his club. The 10 weeks will end in time for him to join up with England for the late-March World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland. Atlético are waiting for full details of the suspension before constructing a formal response.
Trippier is not expected to appeal. Atlético, however, will examine all their options, including going to Fifa, with the possibility that the suspension would be put on hold pending a final resolution.
Simeone said: “I insist: it is completely unjust for Atlético Madrid to find itself in a situation where the [body] that benefits is the English federation, which is the same body that takes the decision and makes the judgment. We hope this situation can be reviewed, or at least analysed to see why Atlético Madrid should be the one [paying] for something in which it has played no part.”
The Atlético manager said he had not spoken directly to Trippier but the player’s representatives have been in daily contact with the club. He is not allowed to visit the training ground but Atlético will prepare a programme for him to follow away from the club.
For Trippier and his club the suspension could be highly significant. Atlético are top of La Liga having lost only once and he had played every minute in the league and the Champions League, operating a dual function as a high, ball-playing full-back turned wing-back.
Only Trippier had played for his club at right-back this season until Wednesday night against Getafe, when three men did: Sime Vrsaljko, Marcos Llorente and José María Giménez. Simeone must seek solutions. Should he find them, the England player’s status as an indispensable starter may come under threat, all the more so given he cannot train with his teammates until March. That could also have a knock-on effect on his international place in a European Championship year.
England do, however, have extensive options at right-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold is Gareth Southgate’s preferred option but the manager can also call upon Reece James, Kyle Walker, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka – in addition to Trippier. Southgate has also used Trippier on the left and values his versatility.