A beautiful, lucrative game for the fixers
September 17, 2013
Crime reporter, The Age
In December 2011, police organised a summit for leaders from 12 elite
sports, including AFL, rugby league and union, soccer, netball, tennis and
racing codes to discuss the problem.
Some sports, such as the AFL, had already established integrity models.
Others were painfully exposed.
After attending an international forum in Paris, Ashton publicly declared:
"Match-fixing is imminent in Australia. It is a growing area of concern
for us. This thing is coming down the highway and we have to be prepared."
Now it has arrived.
Ashton says sports identities dabbling in illicit drugs are prime
blackmail targets for match fixers. "It begins as a friendship and then
As soon as the player is persuaded to perform a small favour, the demands
become greater. "It may start with inside information on injury status or
player position and then move to exotic betting such as first or last
"It will not start with throwing a game but a spot-fix, which would be
seen as more socially acceptable. Spot-fixing will be a huge risk for
players here. Drop a mark, bowl a no-ball, miss a shot - that is a real
Which is why the AFL has spent some time talking to clubs and players
about improper associations and why senior officials were staggered to see
Bandidos heavyweight Toby Mitchell in the Richmond rooms after a game
(although there is no suggestion of any impropriety).
Mitchell has been the target of two murder attempts and is a central
figure in the alleged war between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos.
Football players caught in the middle may find they end up pulling more
than a hamstring.
The AFL is better placed than most as it is a local sport where the pool
on exotic bets is quite small on global standards.
Any irregularities on betting or strange trends are reported by the
agencies directly to the AFL.
Police say there has been some recent interest shown by international
syndicates on AFL games that needs monitoring.
The risks are ever present â€” and not necessarily from international
A coach could not work out why his star ruckman was ignoring a set play
and palming the ball with his non- preferred hand to another midfielder.
Until he worked out the big bloke had backed the midfielder to get the
most possessions in the game.
Sometimes greed speaks all languages. And you don't need a crooked ref to
make a killing.