AFL player betting scandal
Players in betting scandal
By Steve Butler
THE AFL has been rocked by a new gambling scandal on the eve of the 2007 season, yesterday revealing it was investigating four players for betting on games.
AFL football operations general manager Adrian Anderson last night would not reveal details of the wagering or identify the players involved, but confirmed he had appointed a two-man panel to investigate potential breaches of the sport's strict gambling code.
The Herald understands the betting activity was uncovered after the players had placed wagers through personal betting accounts with TAB Sportsbet.
Players caught breaching the code face a range of penalties including a fine of up to $100,000, compulsory counselling on responsible gambling and a possible ban from the game.
Anderson said there was no suggestion a player had bet against his side winning. He said Allan Roberts and Bill Kneebone were expected to conclude their investigation in two weeks.
The AFL would make no further comment. If found guilty, the players are almost certain to be named.
"The AFL regulations and standard player contract both clearly outline all players' and officials' responsibilities in regard to gambling, as a core issue for the integrity of the game," Anderson said.
The AFL and TAB Sportsbet, through major partner Tabcorp, last year signed an agreement that would allow sensitive customer information to be released to the sport's peak body when there was suspicious wagering activity.
It is understood the AFL has invoked that clause following the latest revelation.
A Tabcorp spokeswoman last night said the betting giant had previously provided the AFL with information from clients, understood to be players, since their partnership started early last year.
Problem gambling in the AFL was exposed two years ago when Melbourne pair Travis Johnstone and Daniel Ward owed money to bookmaker Simon Beasley. The amounts were allegedly $20,000 and $50,000.
Rule 19.3 of the AFL's anti-gambling and corruption regulations state that players must not, directly or indirectly, participate or engage in or assist any other person, corporation or entity to bet, gamble or wager on any aspect of any match or on any event connected with any match.