Football

Terry's substitution sparks controversy

John Terry's Stamford Bridge exit on Sunday was mired in controversy and debate after the Chelsea captain's premeditated departure.

Press Association Sport understands the Premier League is relaxed about Terry's orchestrated substitution midway through the first half of the champions' 5-1 win over Sunderland, despite it being forecast on social media by the Chelsea fanzine editor before kick-off.

Terry, 36, revealed after the match that the idea to come off in the 26th minute had come from him, to tie in with his squad number of 26.

The substitution process began when the clock ticked on to 26 minutes, which is the 27th minute of the match.

By the time he left the field through a guard of honour formed by his teammates, it was the 28th minute.

Sunderland boss David Moyes said he had received advance notice of Chelsea's plans, and his goalkeeper Jordan Pickford obligingly kicked the ball out under direction from Blues striker Diego Costa.

News of the plan could have alerted gamblers to a situation they might have exploited.

English Football Association rules regarding match-fixing state that: "Fixing is arranging in advance the result or conduct of a match of competition, or any event within a match or competition."

Three punters have been paid out by a bookmaker which accepted bets on the specific time of Terry's first-half substitution at 100-1.

Paddy Power accepted the wagers on Terry being substituted between 26:00 and 26:59.

PA Sport has spoken to two customers of Paddy Power, who won £2,500 (S$4,500) and £1,000 respectively.

Paddy Power said in a statement to PA Sport yesterday: "We replied to a novelty request for odds on John Terry's substitution - one of hundreds on the Chelsea game - and fair play to the three punters who were on at odds of 100-1.

"To be honest, the only mistake here is we should have clocked sooner, there'd be another cringe-worthy Chelsea send-off for JT."

Terry, who had made his 717th appearance for the Blues, lifted the Premier League trophy with teammate Gary Cahill after the match, before Terry addressed the supporters in a speech.

He said: "I'll be back here one day." - PA SPORT

eplCHELSEA (EPL)