Collingwood star Jaidyn Stephenson won’t play again this AFL season unless the Magpies make the finals after he was handed a record sanction for betting.
Stephenson has been banned from playing in the Magpies’ next 10 matches and copped a $20,000 fine for betting on three AFL games involving his club.
The 2018 Rising Star Award winner was banned for 22 matches but 12 of those games were suspended, which will apply for the remainder of his career.
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While still allowed to train with the club, Stephenson will miss the rest of the home and away season and the first week of the AFL finals should Collingwood advance.
It’s the heaviest sanction for a player in relation to a breach of AFL rules relating to wagering.
“This is the toughest penalty imposed under our wagering rules,” said AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon.
“There is no clearer instruction – AFL players, club and league officials are banned from betting on Australian Rules Football in any form.
“The rules are very clear and if you breach them you will be penalised.
“Jaidyn’s actions have compromised the integrity of the game.”
Stephenson placed three multi-bets on three separate games involving his team, with the wager totalling $36.
He gave cash to a friend on two occasions for him to place the bet using a betting app and on the other used his friend’s online betting account himself.
The last bet was on the Magpies’ round nine match against St Kilda on May 18, with the 20-year-old self-reporting to Collingwood a day later.
Magpies general manager of football Geoff Walsh advised the AFL’s integrity unit the same day, which opened an investigation.
Dillon said it was concluded after reviewing the matches that Stephenson didn’t influence the outcome in relation to the bets.
“The investigation concluded there was no evidence to suggest there was any intent to influence the outcomes within the contests in relation to the bets,” Dillon said.
He added Stephenson’s self-reporting and co-operation with the investigation had contributed to the suspended portion of the match ban.
Dillon said the player knew he was breaking the AFL rules when he placed the bet and self-reported due to his remorse.
“He was clear – he knew that he was doing the wrong thing,” Dillon said.
“He couldn’t explain it … he felt incredibly remorseful when he came to that conclusion.”
Dillon said when deciding on the sanction the AFL considered factors such precedent, the age of the player, the number and value of the bet and the fact that he was playing in the game.
© AAP 2019