The AFL has today suspended Collingwood's Jaidyn Stephenson for 22 matches, with 12 matches to be suspended, and fined him $20,000 for breaching the AFL's rules related to betting on AFL matches.
The 12-match suspended sanction will apply for the remainder of Stephenson's career.
Stephenson placed three same game multi-bets in three separate matches this season in which he played. The bet stakes totalled $36.
The matches in question were against the Western Bulldogs in round four, Essendon in round six and St Kilda in round nine.
The multi-bets included legs on:
- Collingwood to win,
- Collingwood winning margin,
- Stephenson to kick a goal,
- Stephenson to kick three or more goals,
- Collingwood teammates to kick a goal,
- Collingwood teammates to kick two or more goals, and
- Collingwood teammates to have in excess of a number of disposals.
On two occasions Stephenson gave cash to a friend to place the bets for him, on one occasion he used the friend's betting account. All bets were unsuccessful.
Stephenson self-reported to Collingwood, who in turn reported the breach to the AFL.
The AFL's integrity unit interviewed Stephenson, his Collingwood teammates and reviewed the matches in question.
Stephenson was cooperative and forthright when interviewed by the integrity unit and the investigation concluded there was no evidence to suggest there was any intent to influence the outcome within the contest in respect to the bets.
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said Stephenson's action were a clear breach of the AFL rules.
"We have very clear rules about betting on football. If you breach the regulations, you will be penalised. Jaidyn's actions have compromised the integrity of the game. He knew the rules but chose not to adhere to them," Mr Dillon said.
"Collingwood responded very quickly and appropriately when they were made aware of the issue and recognised the seriousness of the matter." Mr Dillon said.
"Stephenson, his teammates and the club have all co-operated fully when interviewed and that along with the fact of self-reporting have led to a substantial proportion of the sanction being suspended.
"The AFL, AFLPA, and all clubs provide extensive education and counselling on all matters relating to gambling.
"There is no clearer instruction - AFL players, club and league officials are banned from betting on the Australian Rules Football in any form."
Stephenson will still be allowed to train with Collingwood but won't be able to play in their next 10 matches. He will not be able to play in Collingwood's VFL team during this time.