Premier League footballer Rio Ferdinand has been accused of acting irresponsibly after tweeting on behalf of an online casino he is respresenting.
Ferdinand, 36, currently plays for Queens Park Rangers in the Barclays Premier League and the ex-England and Manchester United centre back tweeted his 6 million followers on social networking site Twitter “Play at my favourite @CasinoFloorUK tonight & have 55 free spins on me” with an attached link to the stated casino.
The promotional link then sparked a flurry of responses from his followers that claimed he had “sold out” and was acting “irresponsibly”. Footballers regularly use Twitter to promote products to their followers but the topics of online gambling and alcohol remain controversial subject areas.
One follower stated “An absolute disgrace Rio that you are plugging this gambling rubbish. Shame on you.”
Another tweeted “You have responsibilities as a role model. Gambling rips families apart.”
Gambling is illegal to players under the age of 18 years old in the UK but the minimum age restriction for people to use Twitter is set at just 13 years of age. It is believed that Ferdinand has a large following of under 18 year olds on Twitter.
This is the latest controversy regarding footballers and gambling. Former Stoke City and West Ham United winger Matthew Etherington admitted to losing more than £1.5 million through a gambling addiction. Former England international Tony Adams also confessed to losing millions of pounds on betting during the 1990s. The Football Association has since made it unlawful for professional footballers to place bets on football matches anywhere in the world.
Ferdinand and the Football Association have refused to comment on the incident. The tweet has been taken down from his account.