FIFA President Gianni Infantino has issued a stern warning against sports betting by footballers, promising severe sanctions ahead of a busy summer of football.

During an event in Paris honouring soccer legends like Pelé, Infantino addressed the issue of match-fixing in sports. He emphasised that players should not engage in gambling, whether in football, rugby, or any sport.

Infantino stated: “The players know it: you shouldn’t gamble, obviously. When something happens, obviously there are investigations and very serious and very intransigent decisions are made when it comes to betting and football, at all levels, including amateurs.”

The President stressed the importance of maintaining integrity in sports and punishing athletes involved in betting on fixtures. He reiterated that FIFA prioritises the integrity of the game and will take severe action against those who compromise it. 

“Without talking about specific cases, players who are found guilty must be punished severely,” he said.

Recent incidents have compounded the issue. Newcastle United‘s Sandro Tonali and JuventusNicolò Fagioli were sanctioned for their involvement in sports betting. 

More recently, West Ham United‘s Lucas Paquetá is under investigation by the English Football Association (FA) for allegedly receiving four yellow cards to benefit a third-party bet.

Infantino went on to say that punishment alone is not enough, as he believes prevention and education are crucial. He also called for a culture of integrity where athletes understand and respect the rules designed to keep the sport fair and enjoyable.

During the Paris event, Infantino also highlighted the role of inspiring figures in football, praising Pelé as a symbol of love and dedication to the sport. 

Infantino added: “Pelé was not just a player; he was an example of love and dedication to sport, something that all generations should remember.”

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