By Femi Atolagbe
Daniel Sturridge will face an independent hearing after he submitted his plea to a charge for breaching FA betting rules.
The Liverpool striker was charged on November 12 last year after an eight-month investigation into bets that were struck in January 2018 when he was allowed to leave the club on loan. Sturridge moved to West Brom but he also had options to join Newcastle, Sevilla and Inter Milan.
Sturridge initially had eight days to decide whether he was going to accept or contest the decision. After an appeal, the Football Association granted him an extension — the strict deadline for which was 6pm on Monday night.
At this stage, there is no indication what answer Sturridge has given. Liverpool, the FA and those close to the 29-year-old would not provide any guidance other than to confirm that he had met the deadline.
Regardless of the decision he has made, Sturridge must face an independent panel at some point to determine the outcome of a case that is complex. There is no time frame on when a definitive answer will be given.
Sturridge, who is out of contract at the end of the season and will leave Liverpool after six years on Merseyside as the club are not offering him a new deal, was part of a 31-man squad that Jurgen Klopp took to Marbella on Monday for a warm weather training camp.
He is eligible to play in both the Premier League and Champions League. The FA could have asked for Sturridge to be subjected to an interim suspension had they deemed him a threat to the game’s integrity but that option was never considered.
Liverpool do not have a game now until they face Bayern Munich on February 19 and left back Andrew Robertson believes the break has come at the right time for Klopp’s squad.
‘In the season, it’s very rare we’ve got a full week to work,’ said Robertson. ‘It will be a positive camp, full of training, and I am sure lads coming back from injury will be fairly fit after the camp. It’s all about working in things we think we can do better.
‘There are always things, we’re not a complete team, we can always do things better. We are all looking forward to it, looking forward to the next four days.’