August 19, 2018

NRL stays silent as betting scandal police investigation heats up

And now a statement from the NRL about the betting scandal investigation - just kidding - it is no comment as usual.

The investigation into the NRL spot fixing betting scandal has intensified with police detectives questioning Canterbury Bulldogs players about their relationships with former NRL player John Elias and player agent Sam Ayoub.

John Elias is Class-A dodgy by his own admission. Sam Ayoub just happens to be the manager of Ryan Tandy, the Bulldogs player who gave away the penalty in front of his own posts early in the game in question. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that ‘It has already emerged that Ayoub…placed a wager on the Cowboys scoring by penalty first’. If that is correct, then placing such a bet is not illegal and there is no suggestion he has done anything wrong, but it is not a good look.

Ayoub also just happens to have put a spot bet on a North Queensland Cowboys penalty goal being the first scoring move of the game.

As well as any relationship they may have with Elias and Ayoub, Bulldogs players are being asked if they “noticed anything before the game, what they made of the penalty and what happened afterwards.”

The investigation into the round 24 match between the Bulldogs and the Cowboys was started when Bookmakers cried foul after taking a huge number of wagers on the Cowboys to open the scoring through a penalty goal.

Mr Ayoub said last night: ”I am pleased the police are investigating.” Well Newswarped is pleased the police are investigating too because if it was an NRL investigation then there is every incentive for them to sweep it under the carpet.

The NRL’s silence is understandable in that there is an ongoing police investigation. But in the interests of dampening down internet speculation they would have been wise to make a statement at least defining the scope of the investigation and clearing names that have been mentioned unofficially but are not under investigation.

The silence of the NRL means this is serious and that there is some substance to the rumours. There are too many credible rugby league commentators who are adding weight to the unsubstantiated allegations that the penalty was ‘fixed’ and that Ayoub and Elias are the organisers behind it.

The fact that high profile players like Johnathan Thurston, Willie Mason and Aaron Payne keep getting mentioned with no denials from their side only adds fuel to the fire.

When we look at the allegations and put that with the limited facts that are coming out about the police investigation the whole thing is starting to look plausible. That is not good news for the NRL or the players involved.

One thing we can be sure of is that if there is anything to find out then the police Casino and Racing unit are going to uncover it. This is no sex scandal where it is a players word against a young womans.

This involves electronic transactions, bank accounts and mobile phones, so keeping your mouth shut may not be enough to save you if you have somethingto hide.

The police are reported to be starting interviewing Cowboys players today.

If the police are asking players about Ayoub and Elias then they must already have some evidence against them. If that is the case then it is just going to be a matter of finding out who knew what and did what among the players. It is impossible to have a spot fixing sports betting scandal without player involvement.

If many of the rumours are baseless then “say it isn’t so” David Gallop. We the fans who love the game of rugby league deserve to be kept in the loop by the NRL.