Hundreds of staff will no longer be allowed to enter tipping competitions of any sort as the league launches a harsh crackdown on gambling in the wake of last year’s Brownlow Medal betting scandal.
Under the new rules, workers for the AFL, AFLW and a range of lower-tier leagues had to quit any office or family tipping comps by Thursday after receiving a letter from league football operations boss Andrew Dillon.
The clampdown is so severe the staff won’t even be able to wager a cup of coffee on the outcome of a game.
Last December umpire Michael Pell was sacked by the AFL after it emerged that he was one of four men arrested by police over allegedly suspicious Brownlow Medal betting activity that allegedly involved the leaking of votes.
The severe restrictions have come into force after AFL field umpire Michael Pell (pictured) was sacked last year when it emerged he was one of four men arrested over allegedly suspicious activity surrounding voting on the Brownlow Medal
The Brownlow scandal led to calls for umpires to be stripped of their ability to vote on the prestigious award – but that was rejected by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (pictured with wife Laura Blythe at the league’s 2023 season launch)
That led to calls for umpires to be stripped of their voting rights for the prestigious award, but AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan ruled out any change.
Now the league has responded with a memo outlining a range of extreme measures designed to remove any scope for employees to get caught up in a gambling-related scandal.
The instructions state that none of the staff covered by the new rules can place ‘any bet associated with a Sherrin football’, the reported.
According to the publication, the memo listed examples to illustrate the type of gambling that is now outlawed.
One stated that an AFL trainer who works at David Jones is not allowed to participate in the business’s staff tipping competition.
Another states that a goal umpire cannot even bet a cup of coffee that Richmond will win this year’s Dreamtime game over Essendon.
AFL and football club staff have long been banned from gambling on first-grade games but the new rules take a far more severe approach to dealing with the problem
A memo from the AFL illustrated the rules with examples including a goal umpire not even being allowed to wager a cup of coffee on the outcome of a game (stock image)
A third stipulates that a VFL umpire cannot place a bet on an AFLW match, even though they have nothing to do with the contest – the reason being that the game ‘involves a Sherrin football’.
The AFL’s Integrity Unit has recently sent letters to several staff warning them of potential gambling breaches, according to the publication.
The move is a significant step up from previous rules that prevent AFL staff and club employees from betting on first-grade games.
It comes at a time when the league faces ongoing criticism for being too closely tied to gambling companies, which inject huge amounts of money into the sport through sponsorship deals.
An AFL Fan Association survey of 3000 supporters released earlier this month found 76 per cent would support a ban on betting advertising on TV and radio, with 67 per cent in favour of AFL clubs being barred from getting money from pokies and wagering ads.
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