Former Lincoln City defender Bradley Wood has been banned from all football activity for six years after being found guity of 25 breaches of the Football Association's (FA) betting and integrity rules.

Wood, who has been suspended since April 2017 when an investigation was launched, has been fined £3,725 and ordered to pay costs of £1,550 as well as being banned until March 2024.

His offences were uncovered as a result of collaborative work between the UK Gambling Commission's (UKGC) Sports Betting Intelligence Unit, the FA and the betting industry.

The player was booked in matches against Ipswich Town and Burnley FC during Lincoln City's FA Cup campaign last season. In each case, betting operators noticed suspiciously high stakes being placed on Wood to receive a yellow card, which they then reported to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Seven individuals placed the largest possible bets on Wood being booked, including four who were using an account for the first time. The other three all wagered sums "that were very much larger than any other bet that they had previously placed, or were to place", the FA said.

Two of the betting operators that flagged the suspicious activity, William Hill and Sky Betting & Gaming, noted that the sums being bet on the card market were far larger than those usually wagered.

Phone records also revealed extensive contact between Wood and the bettors, though the exact details of these communications were not known as those involved refused to share their content.

It was also discovered that Wood's finances were in a "parlous state", which the FA said provided him with a motive to be involved in a betting ring.

The FA, upon reviewing recordings of the matches, found that Wood "intentionally placed himself in positions to get booked on a number of occasions in both matches which demonstrate attempts by him to receive a card."

He was therefore found guilty of all 25 charges. However, the FA said that a lifetime ban was inappropriate, as neither of his actions in the games altered the match's final result.

The financial penalties imposed were also reduced to take into consideration the loss of his income from football and the state of his finances.

"Professional footballers, and indeed those in other sports, must pay attention to Bradley Wood's ban by the FA," UKGC acting executive director Richard Wood said. "This clear breach of FA rules is not acceptable and damages the integrity of sport.

"Through working with gambling firms, sports governing bodies and the public we can work hard to continue to keep crime out of British gambling and sport."

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