Huddersfield’s prospective new owner Phil Hodgkinson has admitted a misconduct charge for betting on matches and been fined £1,500 by the Football Association.
The case relates to 99 bets he placed on games between September 2015 and February 2019, during which time he was a football agent and a director of non-league club Southport.
The matter could have derailed his Huddersfield purchase, as “participants” in the game are prevented from betting on football, but Press Association Sport understands the matter has effectively been closed and Hodgkinson’s takeover should be approved at the English Football League’s annual general meeting in Portugal later this week.
Last month, shortly after the club’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, the Terriers’ current owner Dean Hoyle announced his plan to sell a 75-per-cent stake to Hodgkinson.
Hoyle explained he was giving up control of the club after a decade because of ill health but he also said he believed Hodgkinson was the best candidate to build on his legacy.
Since that announcement there has been no further news, with most observers assuming it would be a formality for Hodgkinson, the chief executive of legal services company Pure Business Group, to pass the EFL’s owners and directors test.
But the reason for the delay can be found on the FA website, buried in a list of disciplinary charges for April.
The note says Hodgkinson “breached FA Rule E8(1)(a)(i) in placing 99 bets on the result and/or progress and/or conduct and/or any other aspect of a football matches between 29 September 2015 and 19 February 2019…charge admitted – paper hearing requested”.
The result of that hearing, which took place last month, was that the FA panel accepted that Hodgkinson was not aware of the ban until it was brought to his attention, the bets were small and they were not on games or clubs in Southport’s league.
It is also understood that Hodgkinson told Huddersfield about the case at the outset of talks with Hoyle and has kept them informed of the situation throughout.