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Sutton goalkeeper forced to resign after pie-eating gag turns into insider betting scandal

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“Piegate” has exploded after Wayne Shaw admitted he knew about a prop bet related to him eating on camera.

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So you’re watching a soccer game on a Monday afternoon and see this wonderful sight, a team’s backup goalkeeper eating a meat pie on the bench.

This is the perfect juxtaposition between big and small clubs that makes the FA Cup so great. On one side is Arsenal, a top professional team filled with mega-rich players who spend multiple hours every day sculpting their bodies. On the other side is Sutton United, a fifth-tier team that cannot afford to pay a weekly wage to two goalkeepers at a time. Their backup is 46-year-old Wayne Shaw, a man who is not paid several million dollars to get into peak physical condition, and who decided to have a bite to eat on the sideline after Sutton used their final substitution.

Fans were only allowed to innocently enjoy this wonderful scene for about five minutes before realizing that it was a publicity stunt for a gambling shop. Sun Bets, who bought Sutton’s shirt sponsorship for the game, had a prop bet for Shaw eating a pie on camera. Nothing is authentic; everything is brands.

And now Shaw is in trouble. The FA is investigating him for a rules breach after he admitted he knew Sun Bets was offering 8-1 odds on him eating a pie and decided to do it “for a bit of banter.” He has resigned from Sutton after being asked to do so.

Shaw knew that he wasn’t allowed to place any bets relating to football, but didn’t know that what he did was wrong. Here’s what he had to say:

“I think there were a few people [who bet on him eating a pie]. Obviously we are not allowed to bet. I think a few of the mates and a few of the fans. It was just a bit of banter for them. It is something to make the occasion as well and you can look back and say it was part of it and we got our ticket money back.”

The FA’s rules state that players cannot “instruct, permit, cause, or enable” betting on football. These rules are intended to prevent match fixing, but an argument can and seemingly will be made that they apply to influencing prop bets, as well.

In no time, Sutton United has gone from a symbol of everything that’s great about the FA Cup to a bit of a joke. The publicity and adulation received from making it to the fifth round of the FA Cup and facing Arsenal as a non-league side is a hard thing to screw up. But they’ve managed it by taking sponsorship from the betting shop arm of The Sun — a paper that lied about Hillsbrough and took 23 years to apologize for it, lied about the Queen supporting Brexit, and called refugees “cockroaches” who “spread like the norovirus,” among other offenses — and getting themselves mixed up in a gambling scandal involving that sponsor.

Monday’s game was supposed to be a celebration of non-league football and the FA Cup. Instead, we got Piegate.