With more than nine million players, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is one of the most popular games with football fans worldwide. It is well known that footballers are not allowed to bet on themselves or anything related to the sport, but what about Fantasy Football?
Football Association (FA) rules do not forbid Premier League players from participating in Fantasy Football. Unless their clubs say otherwise, footballers in England are free to join in with the FPL fun and games.
Fantasy Football might lead to a conflict of interests at times, such as when a Premier League defender comes up against his star FPL striker. However, unlike gambling, there is no money at stake in FPL. The game is simply a bit of fun between friends and isn’t taken too seriously. That’s why the FA and most football clubs have no problem with players creating their own fantasy team.
Why did Aston Villa ban Fantasy Football?
Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith banned his players from taking part in Fantasy Football in 2021. The decision came after FPL contributed to his team news being leaked before a game.
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On February 21, 2021, Leicester City beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park. Ahead of the match, a Twitter account named ‘FPL Insider’ revealed that three Villa players – Conor Hourihane, Matt Targett and Neil Taylor – transferred Jack Grealish out of their fantasy teams.
The information gave Leicester a heads-up that the injured Grealish would not be available for selection. The England international had played in almost 50 consecutive games until that day, meaning his absence came as a huge blow to Villa.
What are footballers not allowed to do?
FA rules state that footballers are not allowed to wear anything dangerous during games. That includes necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands and rubber bands, as well as tape to cover up jewellery.
The International FA Board (IFAB) has also banned players from wearing snoods. The neckwear was designed to keep footballers warm in the cold winter months, but many viewed the additional clothing as nothing more than a fashion statement. Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri were among those who often took to the pitch wearing snoods.
In 1996, another famous footballing ban was temporarily introduced at Arsenal. Shortly after joining the club, the health-conscious Arsene Wenger told his players they were no longer allowed to eat Mars bars. The Arsenal squad jokingly vented their frustration by chanting “we want our Mars bars back!” during a coach trip.