Premier League Fantasy Football winner sent racist messages about Raheem Sterling resulting in DQ

The Premier League have disqualified the original winner of their 2019-20 Fantasy game, with reports stating his fantasy team was deleted for racist messages about Raheem Sterling sent in a private Facebook chat. 

Bulgarian player Aleksandar Antonov, who has a YouTube channel on Fantasy football called TooGoodFPL, was announced as the winner following the final round of Premier League games on July 26, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Joshua Bull. 

Yet the Premier League confirmed that Antonov has ‘been removed from FPL due to a breach of our terms’, and the Bulgarian touched on the nature of why he was disqualified in a YouTube video on Tuesday afternoon – but did not go initially go into specifics. 

Sportsmail contacted the Premier League for clarification on why the original winner was removed from the game, and the reported insult against Sterling, but they refused to comment and did not elaborate on Tuesday morning’s statement.  

However, the original winner's team simply showed as deleted after the update to the standings

Aleksandar Antonov had been disqualified from Fantasy Premier League on Tuesday morning

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It is believed that Antonov was disqualified for racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

It is believed that Antonov was disqualified for racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

FPL 1ST PLACE PRIZES 

  • 7-night break in the UK including VIP hospitality at two 2020/21 Premier League matches
  • A week’s worth of experiences at popular tourist attractions courtesy of Visit Britain
  • Includes travel and 7 nights’ accommodation
  • TAG Heuer connected watch
  • Copy of FIFA 20 and a games console
  • Nike manager jacket
  • FPL goody bag consisting of a rucksack, t-shirt, mug, water bottle, stress ball, pen, pad and key ring

NB: Prizes were announced before the coronavirus outbreak

‘Somehow, and in some way, things that I said in a private Facebook messenger chat with five of my friends found its way to the EPL (English Premier League),’ Antonov says in his YouTube statement. 

‘In response the EPL decided to exercise their right and remove me as the winner and to annul my points for the season. 

‘To clarify, what we write in our chats is football banter. And for sure it’s not something different generally from football banter chats…

‘The reason for my disqualification is a moment of frustration with a player put into words, written between friends – it was never meant to offend any footballer on any basis.

‘I was disqualified from the season because something was taken out of context to a large extent, from a small Bulgarian private chat by a person that certainly doesn’t wish me well in life and made me look like something I’m not to the EPL.’  

After the video statement, Antonov also tweeted in response to users on Twitter, via his handle @TooGoodFPL: ‘Can I just say quickly…I am not racist. OK, that’s all I had to say, bye.

‘Not saying the reason is racism, but the person that reported me for whatever he did, has said the exact same type of stuff in front of me when watching football together. You are giving way too much credit to sore losers… He is only standing up for his hurt ego.

‘The behaviour was explained to the EPL in two pages and I respect their decision. As I said in the video, I would never say anything like that to a player with the intend to offend them, it’s a small chat with friends, in a different language and different culture.’

However, later that evening Antonov took to Twitter once again to reveal that his expulsion was due to comments about Sterling – although he stressed they were not meant to come across as racist.

‘Hey, I know loads out there will say this is too little, too late. I didn’t give an explanation on this since I did not want to go in more specific reasons … but I guess I have to do it. Also a lot of people seemed to think I have to apologize [sic] so I will try to cover this too,’ he wrote.

‘The specific wording in question are some offensive words about an EPL player in combination with the word “neger4e”. Of course the problem here is the last word used even though I am more ashamed and sorry for the rest.

‘I admitted this is a mean comment worthy of disqualification. However, it is hard to explain to English speaking people why I never meant it to be a racist comment. The word “negyr” in Bulgarian does not have nearly the same connotation as the N word in English.

‘I have never used the N word to anyone English-speaking or of black color [sic] in Bulgaria. I have never intend to cause any racial harm to anyone, EPL players included, and up to now I have never done so. It may sound stupid, but I actually really don’t condone racist behavior [sic]… and this is not just for black people but all other races, from which I have had many friends especially when living in the UK. I do have to apologize [sic] to anyone that has taken as an offense against them or their friends on racial basis. I understand why this is.

‘I can say also that what I wrote was never intended in this way, that I am sorry about talking in an inappropriate manner about EPL players (including to the player himself, but surely not players of non-white ethnicity only) and that I don’t condone aggressive racist behavior [sic].

‘All this has taught me a harsh lesson and I hope it is a harsh lesson to others like me as we can see people don’t accept this kind of stuff even when the intend to do harm is not there and it is just a chat between friends thousands of kilometers [sic] away.

‘For those that have been following me, you know I have never showed any discriminatory/racial behavior [sic], I try to help everyone and will continue to do so. Yes I could have pretended this is not me and may have avoided all this, but I deserve my punishment from EPL and from you.’

City forward Sterling, 26, was part of the England side which played Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019, when play was stopped twice due to racist behaviour from home supporters including Nazi salutes and monkey chanting. 

The game did finish, with England winning 6-0 and Sterling scoring twice in the Euro 2020 qualifier, but Bulgaria have since been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors as a punishment from UEFA, with one suspended for two years. 

Earlier in the day, in response to a query on social media as to whether he had multiple teams and that was the reason he was disqualified, Antonov said: ‘This is an easy one – no, I did not try to cheat in a game I play for fun. 

‘For more, tune in tonight, have a dayjob after all. Joshua Bull, congrats (sic) on the win. Not the way you wanted to win it, not the way I wanted to lose it.’  

Meanwhile Bull, an Oxford University cancer researcher, could not hide his shock and excitement at being named as the official winner of Fantasy Premier League 2019-20, played by 7.6 million people.  

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season's champion

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season’s champion

‘Wow, so it looks like the longest FPL season is getting even longer…’ he began on his Twitter page on Tuesday morning. 

‘For everyone tweeting, I don’t know what’s going on either – I had an email from FPL this morning telling me that I’ve won(!), but I don’t know why… 

‘And to address the obvious – clearly this isn’t how I would have wanted to win, and I don’t know any more than the rest of you about what’s happened!’

Rather comically, Bull has also updated his Twitter bio to include: ‘#FPL OR 1? 2? Your guess is as good as mine?’

The updated standings also means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen finishes in the top-10 worldwide, 42 points behind new winner Bull.  

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

Premier League Fantasy Football winner ‘sent racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ resulting in DQ

The Premier League have disqualified the original winner of their 2019-20 Fantasy game, with reports stating his fantasy team was deleted for ‘racist messages about Raheem Sterling’ sent in a private Facebook chat. 

Bulgarian player Aleksandar Antonov, who has a YouTube channel on Fantasy football called TooGoodFPL, was announced as the winner following the final round of Premier League games on July 26, finishing 18 points clear of second-placed Joshua Bull. 

Yet the Premier League confirmed that Antonov has ‘been removed from FPL due to a breach of our terms’, and the Bulgarian touched on the nature of why he was disqualified in a YouTube video on Tuesday afternoon – but did not go into specifics. A report from Bulgarian news website Gong.bg however states that it was for ‘racist statements made against the Manchester City striker Sterling.’

Sportsmail contacted the Premier League for clarification on why the original winner was removed from the game, and the reported insult against Sterling, but they refused to comment and did not elaborate on Tuesday morning’s statement.  

However, the original winner's team simply showed as deleted after the update to the standings

Aleksandar Antonov had been disqualified from Fantasy Premier League on Tuesday morning

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

It means cancer researcher Joshua Bull has won the popular game for the 2019-20 season

Reports from Bulgaria state that Antonov was disqualified for 'racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling'

Reports from Bulgaria state that Antonov was disqualified for ‘racist statements made against Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling’ 

FPL 1ST PLACE PRIZES 

  • 7-night break in the UK including VIP hospitality at two 2020/21 Premier League matches
  • A week’s worth of experiences at popular tourist attractions courtesy of Visit Britain
  • Includes travel and 7 nights’ accommodation
  • TAG Heuer connected watch
  • Copy of FIFA 20 and a games console
  • Nike manager jacket
  • FPL goody bag consisting of a rucksack, t-shirt, mug, water bottle, stress ball, pen, pad and key ring

NB: Prizes were announced before the coronavirus outbreak

‘Somehow, and in some way, things that I said in a private Facebook messenger chat with five of my friends found its way to the EPL (English Premier League),’ Antonov says in his YouTube statement. 

‘In response the EPL decided to exercise their right and remove me as the winner and to annul my points for the season. 

‘To clarify, what we write in our chats is football banter. And for sure it’s not something different generally from football banter chats…

‘The reason for my disqualification is a moment of frustration with a player put into words, written between friends – it was never meant to offend any footballer on any basis.

‘I was disqualified from the season because something was taken out of context to a large extent, from a small Bulgarian private chat by a person that certainly doesn’t wish me well in life and made me look like something I’m not to the EPL.’  

After the video statement, Antonov also tweeted in response to users on Twitter, via his handle @TooGoodFPL: ‘Can I just say quickly…I am not racist. OK, that’s all I had to say, bye.

‘Not saying the reason is racism, but the person that reported me for whatever he did, has said the exact same type of stuff in front of me when watching football together. You are giving way too much credit to sore losers… He is only standing up for his hurt ego.

‘The behaviour was explained to the EPL in two pages and I respect their decision. As I said in the video, I would never say anything like that to a player with the intend to offend them, it’s a small chat with friends, in a different language and different culture.’

City forward Sterling, 26, was part of the England side which played Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019, when play was stopped twice due to racist behaviour from home supporters including Nazi salutes and monkey chanting. 

The game did finish, with England winning 6-0 and Sterling scoring twice in the Euro 2020 qualifier, but Bulgaria have since been ordered to play two matches behind closed doors as a punishment from UEFA, with one suspended for two years. 

Earlier in the day, in response to a query on social media as to whether he had multiple teams and that was the reason he was disqualified, Antonov said: ‘This is an easy one – no, I did not try to cheat in a game I play for fun. 

‘For more, tune in tonight, have a dayjob after all. Joshua Bull, congrats (sic) on the win. Not the way you wanted to win it, not the way I wanted to lose it.’  

Meanwhile Bull, an Oxford University cancer researcher, could not hide his shock and excitement at being named as the official winner of Fantasy Premier League 2019-20, played by 7.6 million people.  

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season's champion

New winner Joshua Bull reacted with shock after being announced as this season’s champion

‘Wow, so it looks like the longest FPL season is getting even longer…’ he began on his Twitter page on Tuesday morning. 

‘For everyone tweeting, I don’t know what’s going on either – I had an email from FPL this morning telling me that I’ve won(!), but I don’t know why… 

‘And to address the obvious – clearly this isn’t how I would have wanted to win, and I don’t know any more than the rest of you about what’s happened!’

Rather comically, Bull has also updated his Twitter bio to include: ‘#FPL OR 1? 2? Your guess is as good as mine?’

The updated standings also means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen finishes in the top-10 worldwide, 42 points behind new winner Bull.  

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

The new standings means World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has finished in the top-10

Liverpool FC cut ties with coconut milk firm as it emerged they used SLAVE monkeys to pick fruit 

Liverpool FC show their ‘official coconut milk’ firm the red card as it emerged they used SLAVE monkeys to pick the fruit

  • The club say partnership with Chaokoh expired in July and it was not renewed 
  • Liverpool denied decision to end the deal is a result of PETA’s abuse allegations 
  • PETA says animals at facilities displayed behaviour indicative of extreme stress 
  • Thai coconut milk firm strongly denies using monkeys as slave labour 

Liverpool FC has not renewed their partnership with Chaokoh – their official coconut milk – as allegations of animal cruelty were denied by the company.

The Premier League champions’ partnership with the coconut water brand – a Thai company – expired at the end of July and the club decided against renewing terms. 

The move comes following a campaign, backed by Carrie Symonds – the Prime Minister’s fiancee – which was launched after allegations were made accusing the company of using monkeys as slaves.

Liverpool have cut ties with Chaoko – their official coconut milk – as allegations come to light

PETA investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts-including those for Thailand's major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh

PETA investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts-including those for Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted an undercover investigation in Thailand which they say proved the firm was mistreating the animals.

PETA says the Asia branch’s investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world – as well as four monkey-training facilities and a coconut-picking competition.

The animal welfare group says the animals at these facilities – many of whom they say were illegally captured as babies – displayed stereotypical behaviour indicative of extreme stress.

The investigators claimed monkeys were chained to old tyres or confined to cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in.

An investigator claimed that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled out.

‘These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts,’ says PETA Senior Corporate Liaison Dr Carys Bennett.

A monkey on a leash climbs a coconut tree to collect coconuts for his owner in Thailand's largely Muslim Narathiwat province

A monkey on a leash climbs a coconut tree to collect coconuts for his owner in Thailand’s largely Muslim Narathiwat province

A worker cuts coconuts at a Chaokoh farm in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand (file photo)

A worker cuts coconuts at a Chaokoh farm in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand (file photo)

‘PETA thanks Liverpool FC for its decision to end its association with Chaokoh and calls on the Thai government to take meaningful steps towards ending the vile practice of using monkeys to harvest coconuts.’ 

The club denied that their decision to not renew the partnership with the company was related to the PETA investigation.

The coconut milk company has strongly denied the claims made against them in a statement posted to their Facebook page.

It read: ‘In light of the disturbing reports in the news, we’d like to make it clear that both we and our associated parties do not support the use of monkey labour in the harvesting of coconuts.

‘As a family business that has exported coconut products for more than 40 years, we are so grateful that so many of you care as deeply about this issue as we do.’

In the UK, Morrisons has suspended its supply of Chaokoh pending investigation while Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda have removed Chaokoh products from their shelves. 

Liverpool FC cut ties with coconut milk firm as it emerged they used SLAVE monkeys to pick fruit 

Liverpool FC show their ‘official coconut milk’ firm the red card as it emerged they used SLAVE monkeys to pick the fruit

  • The club say partnership with Chaokoh expired in July and it was not renewed 
  • Liverpool denied decision to end the deal is a result of PETA’s abuse allegations 
  • PETA says animals at facilities displayed behaviour indicative of extreme stress 
  • Thai coconut milk firm strongly denies using monkeys as slave labour 

Liverpool FC has not renewed their partnership with Chaokoh – their official coconut milk – as allegations of animal cruelty were denied by the company.

The Premier League champions’ partnership with the coconut water brand – a Thai company – expired at the end of July and the club decided against renewing terms. 

The move comes following a campaign, backed by Carrie Symonds – the Prime Minister’s fiancee – which was launched after allegations were made accusing the company of using monkeys as slaves.

Liverpool have cut ties with Chaoko – their official coconut milk – as allegations come to light

PETA investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts-including those for Thailand's major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh

PETA investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts-including those for Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, Aroy-D and Chaokoh

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted an undercover investigation in Thailand which they say proved the firm was mistreating the animals.

PETA says the Asia branch’s investigators visited eight farms where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world – as well as four monkey-training facilities and a coconut-picking competition.

The animal welfare group says the animals at these facilities – many of whom they say were illegally captured as babies – displayed stereotypical behaviour indicative of extreme stress.

The investigators claimed monkeys were chained to old tyres or confined to cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in.

An investigator claimed that if monkeys try to defend themselves, their canine teeth may be pulled out.

‘These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts,’ says PETA Senior Corporate Liaison Dr Carys Bennett.

A monkey on a leash climbs a coconut tree to collect coconuts for his owner in Thailand's largely Muslim Narathiwat province

A monkey on a leash climbs a coconut tree to collect coconuts for his owner in Thailand’s largely Muslim Narathiwat province

A worker cuts coconuts at a Chaokoh farm in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand (file photo)

A worker cuts coconuts at a Chaokoh farm in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand (file photo)

‘PETA thanks Liverpool FC for its decision to end its association with Chaokoh and calls on the Thai government to take meaningful steps towards ending the vile practice of using monkeys to harvest coconuts.’ 

The club denied that their decision to not renew the partnership with the company was related to the PETA investigation.

The coconut milk company has strongly denied the claims made against them in a statement posted to their Facebook page.

It read: ‘In light of the disturbing reports in the news, we’d like to make it clear that both we and our associated parties do not support the use of monkey labour in the harvesting of coconuts.

‘As a family business that has exported coconut products for more than 40 years, we are so grateful that so many of you care as deeply about this issue as we do.’

In the UK, Morrisons has suspended its supply of Chaokoh pending investigation while Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda have removed Chaokoh products from their shelves. 

Can we have a photo? the children asked Amanda. ‘Sure, I’ll get Piers to take it…’

 Tuesday, July 14

When Raheem Sterling joined Manchester City in 2015 for a staggering £49 million, making him the most expensive English footballer ever aged just 20, widespread mockery erupted on social media, including from myself. And when he only scored six goals in his first year as City finished fourth in the Premier League, our scepticism seemed vindicated.

Then Pep Guardiola took over as manager, transformed the team into a trophy-guzzling machine and coached Sterling into becoming one of the best players on the planet, with a current valuation of £185 million.

I reluctantly took the picture (above), which Amanda immediately posted to Instagram with the words: ‘Thrilled to be known and asked for a photo from these lovely children from the Netherlands… photographer Piers Morgan (no clue who he is)’

The young striker, who’s also become a very impressive anti-racism campaigner, is now having the last laugh on those who doubted him.

Today he re-posted the damning words I tweeted four years ago about his transfer – ‘If Raheem Sterling’s worth £49 million then I’m an aardvark’ – and added three chuckling emojis with the words ‘now this is even funnier Piers…’

I’ve never met Sterling, but I admire anyone who shoves critics’ words down their throats as spectacularly as he’s done.

Thursday, July 16

TV regulator Ofcom has received a number of complaints after I branded Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings a ‘rat-faced weasel’ on Good Morning Britain. On reflection, I would like to sincerely apologise – to any rats and weasels who were offended.

Saturday, July 18

Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-0 in the FA Cup semi-final today, in a shocking upset. ‘Hi mate,’ I tweeted Raheem Sterling, with a few of my own chuckling emojis.

He didn’t reply. So, I sent him a Direct Message: ‘Never underestimate aardvarks, they eat 50,000 ants a night.’

Thursday, July 23

Lunch at Club 55 in St Tropez with Amanda Holden and her family, and ex-Formula One racing driver David Coulthard and his wife Karen. Amanda was full of sympathy for my sprained ankle, after breaking her own leg on holiday last year.

‘You’ll lose all the power in it and everything will feel very floppy… so, much like the rest of your body really!’ she cackled.

Halfway through the meal a group of young children arrived at the table with excited smiles. ‘Oh no,’ sighed Amanda, ‘if these are your fans, I’ll have to leave. I can’t take any more of this new Piers Morgan National Treasure b*******.’

‘Allo,’ said the eldest in a Dutch accent. ‘It is, yes?’

‘It is,’ I beamed.

‘Britain’s Got Talent, yes?’

‘Yes!’ I exclaimed, delighted that my stint on BGT still resonates with the youth of today. Then, to my horror, I suddenly realised she was looking behind me.

‘AMANDA!’ they all squealed in unison.

‘YES!’ Ms Holden squealed back, leaping from her seat like she’d just been injected with liquid Viagra.

‘Could we have a photo?’ they pleaded.

‘Of course! I’ll get Piers to take it. Do you know him?’ The children peered at me with total uninterest. ‘No. Who is he?’

My own four children promptly fell about laughing. There’s nothing they enjoy more than seeing their father’s ego pricked so humiliatingly.

I reluctantly took the picture (above), which Amanda immediately posted to Instagram with the words: ‘Thrilled to be known and asked for a photo from these lovely children from the Netherlands… photographer Piers Morgan (no clue who he is).’

After I recovered from this crushing blow, I asked Coulthard who would win a race if all the best drivers in history competed in the same car. ‘Ayrton Senna,’ he replied, immediately. ‘That’s not to diminish the achievements of great drivers like Clark, Schumacher and Hamilton, but Ayrton was a genius. He was the most natural and fastest racer, a relentlessly competitive perfectionist who redefined the limits of what could be done in a car, and the biggest star the sport has ever had. When he walked in a room, it fell silent. Men wanted to be him – and women adored him.’

My sons suddenly got very excited. ‘Dad – Raheem Sterling’s sitting two tables away!’

I hobbled straight over.

‘Mr Sterling! We meet at last.’

‘Oh no…’ he chuckled, ‘you’re the last person I want to see!’

We had a friendly chat.

‘Sorry about the aardvark tweet,’ I said.

‘No need to apologise,’ he grinned. ‘You might be annoying at times but I respect the way you express your true opinions and challenge people to open up their minds. I’ve also enjoyed proving you wrong… hahaha.’

Friday, July 24

BBC news queen Emily Maitlis is Tatler’s new cover star and has given the magazine an interview in which she discusses our long-time friendship.

‘I think of Piers as someone who’s incredibly loyal,’ she said. ‘I know if I was in prison, Piers Morgan would come and see me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but he’d be there. And I like the fact that I can have a row with him without it affecting our friendship – I don’t think I’ve ever had dinner with him without it ending in a massive row.’

This is all true, though you’d probably get better odds on Emily visiting ME in prison – she’d do anything to get the first interview.

Saturday, July 25

Dinner at the stunning Ramatuelle home of nutritionist to the stars Gabriela Peacock, with a fun group including Dame Joan Collins and singer James Blunt. ‘How’s your foot?’ he asked, as I stumbled in like a one-legged donkey.

‘Almost as painful as your new album,’ I replied.

He laughed. Blunt’s not like most celebrities – he loves people mocking him and mocking himself.

He told a very funny story about the time he was invited to a star-studded party with Bill Clinton. ‘Cher came up to me and said, “I wanted to tell you how much I really like your work and how much I wanted to meet you.” I couldn’t believe it, this was CHER! I felt very special. I thanked her, and she walked away. Then a few minutes later she came back and said, “I’m so sorry, I thought you were someone else.”’

Offshore gambling companies should be forced to have UK bases, report says 

Offshore gambling companies should be forced to have UK bases to stop the Treasury losing hundreds of millions in tax, report says

  • Social Market Foundation think-tank called for gambling firms to be based in UK
  • Report found more than half of remote gambling services are based in Gibraltar
  • Gambling firms should be forced to provide jobs in the UK, according to report 

Offshore gambling companies should be required to have a base in Britain to stop the Treasury losing hundreds of millions of pounds in tax, a report says today.

It found that more than half of the remote gambling services used by UK-based customers are provided by firms based in Gibraltar, a tax haven.

The Social Market Foundation think-tank called for all gambling firms to be forced to provide jobs in the UK or have a legal ‘footprint’ here to make them easier to police.

Several well-known bookmakers, many of whom sponsor Premier League football clubs, have little or no base in the UK, it said.

One example is LeoVegas, which has staff in Malta and Sweden, according to the report, and MoPlay, which was based in Gibraltar before it went bust earlier this year.

More than half of the remote gambling services used by UK-based customers are provided by firms based in Gibraltar, a tax haven. Pictured, a William Hill US sports book betting kiosk (file image)

There is also a quirk in UK industry rules allowing brands to advertise in Britain without a licence of their own, which gives firms the chance to operate ‘at the fringes’ of regulation, the report said.

They include SportPesa, which sponsors Everton Football Club, Fun88, which sponsors Newcastle United, and KB88, which sponsors Wigan Athletic. 

Under the think-tank’s proposals, which were submitted to the Government this week, firms that can show they have a sufficient threshold of activities in the UK would be given tax breaks.

It is argued that by having staffed offices in Britain and a UK-incorporated entity, companies will be easier to regulate. British citizens and the Treasury will also benefit as more jobs will be created here.

The report authors said: ‘Our report says that gambling companies must have a physical presence in the UK if they want to operate here.’

To counter the bookmakers’ tactics, the Government brought in remote gaming duty in 2014 – now levied at 21 per cent on revenues – but the taxman is still losing out.

Several well-known bookmakers, many of whom sponsor Premier League football clubs, have little or no base in the UK, it said. Pictured, Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final on August 4

Several well-known bookmakers, many of whom sponsor Premier League football clubs, have little or no base in the UK, it said. Pictured, Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final on August 4

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of Clean Up Gambling, which commissioned the study, said: ‘We believe gambling firms relocating offshore has resulted in hundreds of millions in tax being avoided, while the country is left to pick up the tab for all the harm online gambling is causing to society.’

The SMF report also calls for the Government to implement a £100-per-month limit on online slot game losses to protect poorer families from falling into debt. 

But the Betting and Gaming Council said: ‘We disagree with the suggestion of an arbitrary and random low cap on spending…’

The Daily Mail has long called for tighter gambling regulations. 

Footballers will be shown a red card if they cough deliberately at another person amid coronavirus

Sent off for COUGHING? Footballers will be shown a red card if they cough deliberately at an opponent or referee, as the FA gets tough with new Covid-related rules

  • Players who deliberately cough at another player or referee will be shown red 
  • New FA guidance has ranked deliberate coughing as seriously as punching 
  • Referees will not be expected to police goal celebrations or spitting at the pitch
  • The new rules apply to all levels of the game and come into effect immediately 

Footballers will be shown a red card if they deliberately cough at an opponent or referee, as the Football Association brings in new rules in relation to the coronavirus.

The governing body has compiled a comprehensive document outlining detailed guidance for match officials overseeing games while coronavirus restrictions are in place, and the new rules come into force with immediate effect. 

The rules dictate that in the situation where a ‘clear act’ of coughing towards someone occurs, the player in question should be disciplined with a red card, removing them from the game.

Footballers will be shown a red card if they deliberately cough at another player or referee

The new guidance applies to all levels of the game, but referees will not be expected to ensure players are socially distant during goal celebrations nor will they punish spitting on the pitch, unless a player has been warned not to and continues to do so. 

Deliberate coughing is treated as seriously as punching under the new guidance. Targeted coughing has now been deemed a criminal offence by the CPS, and a player who deliberately coughs on another player or referee may expect police action as a result. 

The FA’s document, as first reported by The Times, for referees states: ‘Where the referee is certain that someone deliberately, and from close range, coughed into the face of an opponent or match official . . . the referee should take action under the law 12 “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”.

New FA guidance prohibits the 'clear act' of coughing towards another amid coronavirus

New FA guidance prohibits the ‘clear act’ of coughing towards another amid coronavirus

Deliberate coughing is ranked as seriously as punching another player under the new rules

Deliberate coughing is ranked as seriously as punching another player under the new rules

‘The action of moving the head/mouth towards someone and then coughing would fall within the “spirit” and general definition of a gesture which is “a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning”.

‘If the incident was not severe enough to merit a sending-off, a caution could be issued for “unsporting behaviour — shows a lack of respect for the game”.’ 

Prior to the suspension of football as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa was seen deliberately coughing at members of the media as an apparent prank following the Spanish side’s Champions League triumph over Liverpool.

Diego Costa pretends to cough at reporters stood feet away from him after playing at Anfield

Diego Costa pretends to cough at reporters stood feet away from him after playing at Anfield

Meanwhile, match officials who are not in the testing programme must take their temperatures at home, five hours before their allocated match starts. 

They’ve also been told to travel to games separately, pay their fees via a bank transfer rather than cash and to refrain from touching the match ball before kick off. 

Assistant referees must also wear face masks when undertaking checks on players’ boots and shin pads and should hold conversations with players or coaching staff at a minimum of a one-metre distance.  

John Terry poses with bikini-clad wife Toni during scenic boat ride during trip to Portugal

Last week, he and wife Toni took a private jet to Portugal, evading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ban on travel to the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And John Terry showed fans he was making the most of his time in the sunshine on Sunday, when he uploaded shots of himself and his wife enjoying a scenic boat ride.

The former footballer, 39, proudly displayed his rippling abs, donning blue swimming shorts as he posed alongside his glam wife, 38, who wowed in a black string bikini.

Fun in the sun: John Terry shared a shot of himself and his wife Toni enjoying a scenic boat ride in Portugal on Sunday, after flying over the country via private jet

With both of them wearing stylish aviator sunglasses, Aston Villa assistant head coach John placed an arm around blonde beauty Toni as they posed for the snap.

In another snap shared several hours later on the image-sharing platform, the former Chelsea player was seen beaming at the camera as he sat at the helm of the boat.

Captioning the image, which showed him donning a white T-shirt as he held a glass of bubbly, he wrote: ‘Good to have the armband back on for the day.’ 

Drive the boat: In another snap shared several hours later on the image-sharing platform, the former Chelsea player was seen beaming at the camera as he sat at the helm of the boat

Drive the boat: In another snap shared several hours later on the image-sharing platform, the former Chelsea player was seen beaming at the camera as he sat at the helm of the boat

John has much to celebrate during his pre-season holiday, as it takes place shortly after he helped Aston Villa avoid relegation from the Premier League.

He jetted off to Portugal despite the country remaining on the British government’s quarantine ‘red list’ – meaning arrivals must isolate for 14-days when they return.

The FCO advises against all non-essential travel the Portuguese mainland. 

But regulations didn’t stop the sportsman, who was in understandably high spirits as he and his wife set off on their latest overseas holiday.

Taking to their respective Instagram accounts, the couple were pictured raising their glasses while settling into a pair of comfortable leather seats close to the jet’s cockpit. 

Celebrate: The champagne had good reason to flow last Monday as a jubilant John Terry jetted off on his pre-season holiday with wife Toni, shortly after helping Aston Villa avoid relegation

Celebrate: The champagne had good reason to flow last Monday as a jubilant John Terry jetted off on his pre-season holiday with wife Toni, shortly after helping Aston Villa avoid relegation

Good times: Taking to their respective Instagram accounts, the couple were pictured raising their glasses while settling into a pair of comfortable leather seats close to the jet¿s cockpit

Good times: Taking to their respective Instagram accounts, the couple were pictured raising their glasses while settling into a pair of comfortable leather seats close to the jet’s cockpit

 With the mood light, Toni also shared a playful snap of her husband as the England legend, grabbed forty winks during their flight to the Iberian Peninsula.

The pair even had a chance to pose in a waiting helicopter after arriving in Portugal, with former defender John flashing a grin while his wife sits alongside him. 

Toni later shared a series of images and videos of their luxurious private villa, complete with outdoor swimming pool and generously sized patio seating area. 

Having barely unpacked, they later made their way to Algarve eatery of choice, Maria’s Restaurant & Beach, where they dank wine while watching the sunset.

The couple were making the most of their Portuguese surroundings after John and Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith ensured their club’s Premier League survival following a turbulent season. 

Funny: With the mood light, Toni, 38, also shared a playful snap of her husband as the Chelsea and England legend, 39, grabbed forty winks during their flight

Flying high: The pair even had a chance to pose in a waiting helicopter after arriving in Portugal, with former defender John flashing a grin while his wife sits alongside him

Funny: Toni also shared a playful snap of her husband as the England legend grabbed forty winks during their flight (L), before the pair boarded a helicopter after arriving in Portugal (R)

Glamorous: Toni drew attention to her features by opting for a generous layer of make-up selected from a natural colour palette

Glamorous: Toni drew attention to her features by opting for a generous layer of make-up selected from a natural colour palette 

Villa narrowly avoided the drop thanks to a nail-biting final day draw against West Ham United at London Stadium.  

The result guarantees them another season in the top flight, but John’s role as assistant remains uncertain with the retired footballer reportedly expressing an interest in Bristol City’s vacant manager’s position.

The former England captain, who is currently assistant to Dean Smith has made no secret of wanting to branch out and is attracted to the potential of the south-west England club. 

John, however, is not alone in being excited about the idea of moving to Ashton Gate and Phil Neville, who will leave his post as England’s women manager as soon as the FA find a replacement, is also eager to be considered after initial contact with the Championship club.

Say cheese: Toni later shared a series of images and videos of their luxurious private villa

Say cheese: Toni later shared a series of images and videos of their luxurious private villa

Not bad: Their new surroundings include  an outdoor swimming pool and generously sized patio seating area

Not bad: Their new surroundings include  an outdoor swimming pool and generously sized patio seating area

Leigh-Anne Pinnock poses up a storm in a white bikini during idyllic Santorini trip

Leigh-Anne Pinnock turns up the heat in a white bikini as she poses up a storm during idyllic Santorini trip

She’s been tapping into full relaxation mode with Watford striker fiancé Andre Gray during a well-deserved break from their busy schedules.

And Leigh-Anne Pinnock caught the eye as she shared sensational images from her five-star hotel Iconic Santorini Cave in Greece over the weekend.

The Little Mix star, 28, sent temperatures soaring as she slipped into a white bikini from her own swimwear range In’A’Seashell while striking sultry poses on a sleek building.

Working it: Leigh-Anne Pinnock caught the eye as she shared sensational images from her five-star hotel Iconic Santorini Cave in Greece over the weekend

Working it: Leigh-Anne Pinnock caught the eye as she shared sensational images from her five-star hotel Iconic Santorini Cave in Greece over the weekend

Showcasing her toned midsection, the songstress stunned in her sporty swimwear set, which featured a plunging bralet and matching briefs.

The Shout Out To My Ex hitmaker proved less is more as she accessorised with just a pair of transparent sunglasses. 

With her locks worn in its natural curl pattern, Leigh-Anne let her skin breathe as she went make-up free.

Wow: The Little Mix star, 28, sent temperatures soaring as she slipped into a white bikini from her own swimwear range In’A’Seashell while striking sultry poses on a sleek building

Wow: The Little Mix star, 28, sent temperatures soaring as she slipped into a white bikini from her own swimwear range In’A’Seashell while striking sultry poses on a sleek building

Golden hour: Later into the day, the singer stunned in an flowy maxi dress by Jacquemus

Golden hour: Later into the day, the singer stunned in an flowy maxi dress by Jacquemus

Unwind: The media personality has been tapping into full relaxation mode with footballer fiancé Andre Gray during a well-deserved break from their busy schedules

Unwind: The media personality has been tapping into full relaxation mode with footballer fiancé Andre Gray during a well-deserved break from their busy schedules

It’s been an exciting time for Leigh-Anne and footballer Andre, 29, as they got engaged last month on their fourth anniversary.

Her bandmates recently revealed they think she will be tying the knot ‘soon’ because she ‘has no patience’. 

Jesy Nelson, 28, and Jade Thirlwall, 27, joked the brunette has been ‘waiting years’ for Andre to pop the question as they praised the sportsman for his ‘beautiful proposal’ during an interview on Heart Breakfast recently.  

True love: It's been an exciting time for the curly-haired beauty and the Watford striker, 29, as they got engaged last month on their fourth anniversary

True love: It’s been an exciting time for the curly-haired beauty and the Watford striker, 29, as they got engaged last month on their fourth anniversary

Jade said: ‘Honestly, when I tell you that girl’s been waiting for years! Honestly. 

‘Every time Andre does anything romantic, she messages us, she’s like ”it could be now”, we’re like ”Leigh…chill babe”.’ 

The Geordie beauty admitted all the group members, including Perrie Edwards, 27, were overwhelmed with emotion at the idyllic home proposal. 

Jade added: ‘Yeah it was so lovely, he did so well, it was a beautiful proposal we were so emotional weren’t we Jess?’

England’s Dele Alli, Jack Grealish and James Maddison drink beers on break in Ibiza

Dele Alli, James Maddison and Jack Grealish have been spotted drinking beers during a break in Ibiza after Spain was put on the UK’s quarantine list.

But the England trio did not appear to be practising social distancing as they huddled around friends by the pool on the Spanish party island.

Tottenham midfielder Alli sported a red cap, black trunks and circular glasses, Leicester’s Maddison opted for red swimming shorts and Grealish, of Aston Villa, donned a black hat and white pants.

They soaked up the rays on sun loungers on the beach as they knocked back a beer and relaxed with a group of mates on the Balearic Island.

Travel advice on the Foreign Office website says social distancing and other safety measures should be ‘observed at all times’ in public spaces in Spain.

The country yesterday saw its biggest spike in coronavirus infections since lockdown was eased in June – beating the previous day’s record.

The England trio did not appear to be practising social distancing as they huddled around friends by the pool on the Spanish party island 

Tottenham midfielder Alli sported a red cap, black trunks and circular glasses, Leicester's Maddison opted for red swimming shorts and Grealish, of Aston Villa, donned a black hat and white pants

Tottenham midfielder Alli sported a red cap, black trunks and circular glasses, Leicester’s Maddison opted for red swimming shorts and Grealish, of Aston Villa, donned a black hat and white pants

They soaked up the rays on sun loungers on the beach as they knocked back a beer and relaxed with a group of mates on the Balearic Island

They soaked up the rays on sun loungers on the beach as they knocked back a beer and relaxed with a group of mates on the Balearic Island

Travel advice on the Foreign Office website says social distancing and other safety measures should be 'observed at all times' in public spaces in Spain

Travel advice on the Foreign Office website says social distancing and other safety measures should be ‘observed at all times’ in public spaces in Spain

Grealish has previously been slammed for ignoring government advice during the pandemic, with the winger crashing his £70,000 Range Rover after attending a party at ex-team-mate Ross McCormack’s flat in March.

Alli also came under fire during lockdown when he mocked an Asian man over Covid-19 in February. Both players, who are idolised by millions of youngsters across the country, issued grovelling apologies and were fined.

The three Premier League stars bolted for Spain soon after the 2019-20 football campaign came to an end, with players expected to return for pre-season training in the coming weeks.

They will have to quarantine for two weeks when they fly back to Britain under new restrictions placed on Spain last Saturday night.

While all three appeared to be in good spirits, Maddison was seen sporting a bandage on his left hip following recent surgery.

The 23-year-old missed the end of the Foxes season, which saw them surrender a top-four spot on the final day, to treat a persistent tendon issue.

Maddison had to watch on from the bench as the Foxes fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester United. That loss consigned Leicester to the Europa League next season alongside Tottenham.

Alli played his part in helping Spurs secure European football for next season after he recovered from a hamstring injury. He came on as an 80th minute substitute against Crystal Palace in the 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.

Alli (right) and Maddison (left) drink by the pool as they enjoy a well-earned break from football after a congested finish to the season

Alli (right) and Maddison (left) drink by the pool as they enjoy a well-earned break from football after a congested finish to the season

Maddison sips some beer as he unwinds alongside some friends on a blistering hot day on the Spanish island

Maddison sips some beer as he unwinds alongside some friends on a blistering hot day on the Spanish island

The Premier League trio sip drinks on a boozy afternoon on the Balearic island surrounded by friends

The Premier League trio sip drinks on a boozy afternoon on the Balearic island surrounded by friends

Meanwhile, Grealish faces an uncertain summer once he returns with Manchester United keen on signing him following his heroics in helping Aston Villa beat the drop.

While Alli relaxed on the island, his team-mates Giovani Lo Celso, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela enjoyed a meal on a yacht on the shores of Ibiza, along with Watford’s Maxi Pereyra and former PSG forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Spain’s health ministry yesterday reported 3,092 new coronavirus cases, marking the biggest jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June and beating the previous day’s record rise.

Cumulative cases, which also include results from antibody tests on people who may have recovered increased to 288,522 from 285,430, the ministry said.

The ministry said 1,525 of the infections had been confirmed within the past 24 hours – the highest daily increase since the end of April.

But the government’s most senior coronavirus expert, Fernando Simon, denied Spain was in the grip of a second wave of infections.

‘A second wave would be when we have uncontrolled, widespread community transmission,’ he told a news conference.

England stars Alli (left) and Maddison (right) pose for a photo together while on holiday

England stars Alli (left) and Maddison (right) pose for a photo together while on holiday

Ezequiel Lavezzi (second left) enjoyed a sit-down meal with Tottenham trio Erik Lamela (third left), Giovani Lo Celso (middle) and Eric Dier (centre right) on a boat off the shores of Ibiza

Ezequiel Lavezzi (second left) enjoyed a sit-down meal with Tottenham trio Erik Lamela (third left), Giovani Lo Celso (middle) and Eric Dier (centre right) on a boat off the shores of Ibiza

While acknowledging the virus was spreading freely within some communities in the northeastern regions of Catalonia and Aragon, Simon said most of Spain had the outbreak under control.

He also stressed Spain’s epidemic had become far less deadly than during its early April peak, when the daily death toll approached 1,000.

Just 10 people died in the last week, partly as the virus is spreading more among young people, who are less vulnerable to the respiratory condition.

The health ministry is monitoring 483 active clusters of the virus, defined as three or more linked cases spread across different households.

Around three quarters of the clusters include less than 10 people, Simon said, though a few contain more than 100 infections.

The rising rates of virus transmission has seen travellers to the popular holiday destination stranded, as many flew out when the Spanish lockdown was relaxed, only to find themselves immersed in a resurgence in cases.

Holidaymakers were given just five hours notice on Saturday night that those returning from Spain – including its popular islands like Ibiza – would have to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in coronavirus cases.