Simon Jordan believes all footballers should be banned from playing the Fantasy Premier League as it is becoming a growing problem for clubs.
The plea by the former Crystal Palace owner comes following Aston Villa preventing their players from using the popular football fantasy game as some players accidentally disclosed Jack Grealish’s injury ahead of their 2-1 loss to Leicester Sunday.
The ‘FPL Insider’ Twitter account revealed that Villa stars Matt Target, Neil Taylor and Conor Hourihane had transferred Grealish, before official news broke about the England midfielder’s leg injury.
The FPL has more than seven million players, including several Premier League footballers with Patrick Bamford of Leeds an avid player.
However, Villa’s decision to ban their players from participating in the FPL could lead more Premier League clubs to apply the same rules, which Jordan agrees.
He told talkSPORT: “Anything that involves other people being disadvantaged by the nature of the information that people can access should be something that should be excluded.
“It then moves into the territory of is it appropriate whether we like it or not, whether professional footballers are close to gambling or things like fantasy football that involve risks, that involve people, who have a financial reward, etc. And so on?
“I know that when you get into football – whether as president or as a player – you don’t put your right to do the things of life aside.
“But there is also an element of concession that you have to make, if you discredit the situation in which you are involved.
“That Kieran Trippier in the betting scenario thinks he was innocent of something brings ambiguity and discredits him.
“If these guys who are involved in fantasy football – and there are a few players who would have been involved in it – have no real intentions and they weren’t really aware of things that they shouldn’t have known about , the fact that people can claim that this is becoming the problem.
Jordan continued, “It’s smart from Villa. I don’t want to use the term “ban” because when someone changes their mind, we have to use the narrative that it’s a “U-turn”. This is called thinking reasonably.
“Okay, every time you try to do something in life, whether it’s a corporate marketing campaign or a relationship, you should always try to think about where it breaks and then you can put the resistance there- inside to prevent something from breaking.
“Since they now realize that it could be open to abuse, it could be open to misrepresentation, it could be open to getting people into difficult situations, we better get them out of the loop.”
“Rather than saying ‘ban’, let’s just suggest, as club policy, across the football pantheon, football players cannot participate in fantasy football.
Bamford has spoken publicly about his passion for the FPL in the past – and even at times captain himself.
But Bamford’s enjoyment of the game could be interrupted if Jordan succeeds.
“It has the potential to compromise the integrity of fantasy football as fantasy football is an important concept,” Jordan added.
“It’s an important concept because it exists and people like it.
“If there are violations, they should be marginalized, minimized and ideally eliminated.
“If any of them want to take professional footballers out of the game, however drastic it may be, then we won’t have to read this, and we won’t have to see people shaking in their shoes over what. ‘they may or may not have done.