AFL player handed record ban for betting offence
The Australian Football League (AFL) has banned Collingwood player Jaidyn Stephenson for 10 matches after it was revealed that he placed bets on three games involving his own team.
Stephenson has been handed a 22-game ban, but 12 of these will be suspended for the rest of his career. The 20-year-old has also been ordered to pay a fine of AUS$20,000 (£10,929/€12,261/US$13,739).
The ban, the most severe ever issued by the AFL, comes after Stephenson reported himself for betting a total of AUS$36 on three multiple section wagers across three Collingwood matches: the clash with Western Bulldogs in the league's fourth round of matches, Essendon in round six and St Kilda in round nine.
The bets included Collingwood to win, Collingwood's winning margin, Stephenson to kick a goal, Stephenson to kick multiple goals, Collingwood teammates to kick a goal, Collingwood teammates to kick multiple goals and Collingwood teammates to have in excess of a certain number of disposals (kicks or passes). All of the bets were unsuccessful.
For two out of the three bets, Stephenson gave money to a friend to place the bets on his behalf, while for the third wager he used a friend’s betting account himself to place the bet himself.
Although the AFL said, “there was no evidence to suggest there was any intent to influence the outcomes within the contest”, it found Stephenson in breach of its rules and regulations regarding betting.
Speaking in a statement, Stephenson said: “It was an incredibly naive thing to do. I'm embarrassed that I've let myself, my family, my teammates and our loyal fans down and I'm devastated that I won't be able to pull on a Collingwood jumper for the next 10 weeks.
“I want to issue an unreserved apology to those who I have let down and hope that in time I can earn back any trust that I have lost.
“I can't change the past, but what’s most important is what I do next.”