An Australian Football League insider reveals a massive bribery scandal
Posted November 01, 2018 06:37:52In 2016, a NSW player allegedly made more than $1 million in a six-month period by giving away $2,000 worth of shirts and other merchandise to players who had made the squad.
In May this year, a player in the Western Bulldogs’ front row allegedly received $4,000 in merchandise for wearing the club’s uniform.
But now an AFL insider has revealed that the extent of a bribery scandal was much larger than previously believed, with a host of players who played for clubs in the top five in the league receiving payments totalling more than A$1.8 million.
The insider, who spoke to The Sport on the condition of anonymity, says he first heard of the scandal when a player told him about it in early March.
He claims that players who were contracted to clubs in top five spots in the AFL were given a package of merchandise for free, in exchange for a donation of $2.5 million to the club.
He says players who made the grade at clubs in lower positions were given money for a small fee, but he has not been able to confirm the amount or whether it was made in cash or by cheque.
“There’s a number of clubs who are going to be very happy with the information we’ve provided,” he said.
“We have been inundated with inquiries and they’re all very positive.”
It comes after the AFL launched a new code of conduct earlier this year.
The code of standards has been endorsed by the AFL’s chief executive officer, Gillon McLachlan, and is designed to improve governance in all levels of the game, from the players to coaches.
It includes the requirement that all clubs have an AFL compliance manager, an AFL commission and a compliance officer.
In the past, it has been reported that clubs were given an incentive to recruit players who performed well, or who had strong work ethic and had a high profile.
The latest code of integrity also states that clubs are required to have an integrity manager who reviews each club’s compliance program and conduct.
“The code is an important step towards creating a transparent, fair and fair game and I commend all clubs for their continued commitment to the code of ethics,” McLachland said in a statement.
“This includes the work of our compliance manager and the work done by the commissioner to identify and resolve potential breaches of the code.”
However, I acknowledge that there are always more opportunities to improve and this code of accountability is not a silver bullet.
“I have also been clear that we are committed to engaging with clubs to work collaboratively to achieve greater transparency and accountability.”
The source said the code was intended to create a “more transparent, transparent game” and that he expected to see the new code introduced into the 2017 season.
“It is a great step forward but I don’t think it will change the fact that there’s still an issue out there,” he told The Sport.
“And I know the AFL have done their homework on this and have spoken to the clubs and they know what’s going on.”
The insider said he had spoken to many of the clubs in question, and the majority had been supportive.
“In a lot of cases, the players are happy to pay the fine,” he explained.
“But there’s a few who will be very disappointed to see that a bit of a money was involved.”
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