Ashton striker gets four-year ban

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MARTIN Pilkington has hit out at the news he has been banned from all football-related activity for four years.

ASHTON UNITED confirmed last July that several members of their 2014/15 squad were being investigated by the FA for a breach of their betting regulations, and at a meeting on Wednesday, each of those players were sanctioned.

Pilkington is the only player to be named so far and was the only one still with Ashton. The final 12 months of his ban are suspended for two years.

Today, the striker tweeted: “Not enough done to help and it’s like just being thrown out in the trash. No help off FA.

“It’s like, because I couldn’t change a habit/addiction overnight I’ve been made example of.

“I hope that other players will learn from this and if I am the example that it works for these lads.”

The FA put new rules in place at the start of the 2014/15 season, meaning players from steps 1-4 of non-league football are not allowed to bet on any football matches around the world.

“I signed a form which I didn’t really read about gambling and nothing was solidly made aware of the consequences,” tweeted Pilkington, who added that he does not plan to appeal.
“I already went to a hearing and put my case across then they threw me under the bus.
“Guess the FA never took into account scoring the winner in a game I backed against my team.”

Pilkington impressed with North West Counties side ABBEY HEY before earning a move to Ashton in 2013. He continued to score regularly for the Robins, helping them reach the Evo-Stik Premier play-offs in each of the last three seasons.

Pilkington has attempted to put a brave face on his enforced absence from the game though.

He has changed his Twitter bio to “On a 4 year break” and tweeted “Boxing Day and New Year’s Day to chill and recover what’s to be down about”.  He also tweeted a picture of his boots with the caption: #ForSaleOrSwap

A club statement read: “Ashton United has fully supported the FA enquiry throughout the investigation period and urges any fellow players – at whatever level of the game – to seek appropriate help if gambling is becoming an issue in their life.”