Simon Jordan believes all footballers should be banned from playing Fantasy Premier League as it becomes a growing issue for clubs.
The former Crystal Palace owner’s plea comes in the wake of Aston Villa stopping their players from using the popular football fantasy game as some stars accidentally leaked Jack Grealish’s injury ahead of their 2-1 defeat to Leicester on Sunday.
Twitter account ‘FPL Insider’ revealed Villa trio Matt Targett, Neil Taylor and Conor Hourihane had transferred out Grealish, before official news broke about the England midfielder’s leg injury.
FPL has over seven million players, including several Premier League footballers with Leeds’ Patrick Bamford an avid player.
However, Villa’s decision to ban their players from taking part in FPL could lead to more Premier League clubs implementing the same rules, something which Jordan is on board with.
He told talkSPORT: “Anything that involves other people being disadvantaged by the nature of information that people may be privy to, should be something that should be excluded.
“That then moves into the territory of is it appropriate, like it or not, for professional footballers to be anywhere near gambling or anywhere near such things as fantasy football that have jeopardy involved, that have people’s engagement, that has financial recompense involved and so on and so forth?
“I know when you go into the business of football – whether it’s as a chairman or player – you don’t put your right to do things in life to one side.
“But there is also an element of concession you have to make, that if indeed you bring the situation you’re involved in into disrepute.
“Whether Kieran Trippier in the betting scenario thinks he was innocent of something, it brings ambiguity and brings it into disrepute.
“Whether these guys that are involved in the fantasy football – and there are a few players that have allegedly involved in it – have no real intentions and they weren’t really privy to things that they shouldn’t have been, the fact that people can allege it becomes the issue.”
Jordan continued: “That’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’. It’s called thinking sensibly.
“Okay, whenever you try do to something in life, whether it’s a marketing campaign in business or a relationship, you should always try to think where it breaks and then you can put the resistance in there to avoid something breaking.
“Given that they now realise that actually this could be open to abuse, this could be open to misrepresentation, this could be open to bringing people into challenging situations, we best take them out of the loop.
“Rather than say ‘ban’ let’s just suggest as a matter of course, as a club policy, across the pantheon of football, football players can’t compete in fantasy football.”
Bamford has publicly spoken about his passion for FPL in the past – and even captains himself at times.
But Bamford’s enjoyment of the game could be cut short if Jordan gets his way.
“It’s likely to compromise the integrity of fantasy football in so far that fantasy football is an important concept,” Jordan added.
“It is an important concept because it exists and people value it.
“If it’s got any breaches in it, they should be marginalised, minimised and ideally eliminated.
“If one of them is to take professional footballers out of the mix, as draconian as that may be, then we won’t have to read this, and we won’t have to have people quaking in their boots about what they may or may not have done.”