Collingwood starlet Jaidyn Stephenson has been banned from playing until the start of the AFL finals series, after receiving a hefty penalty for betting on games involving his club.
Stephenson, who won last year’s AFL Rising Star Award, will miss the final 10 rounds of the home-and-away season and was also handed a $20,000 fine for gambling on three separate matches.
The 20-year-old had wagered on multiple outcomes, including Collingwood’s winning margin, teammates’ and his own goalkicking tallies, and the number of disposals registered across the team.
A remorseful Jaidyn Stephenson will miss the next 10 rounds of the 2019 AFL season for placing a series of bets on matches involving the Magpies. pic.twitter.com/VOcsiUdsL1
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) June 19, 2019
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon confirmed each of his three wagers were placed as multi-leg bets, with the stakes totalling $36.
“This is the toughest penalty imposed under our wagering rules [and] the rules are very clear. If you breach them, you will be penalised.” Dillon said.
“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.”
The wagers were placed ahead of clashes against the Western Bulldogs (Round 4), Essendon (Round 6) and St Kilda (Round 9) – all of which were unsuccessful.
On two occasions, he handed cash to a friend to place a bet on his behalf, while he placed a bet using a friend’s online account in the third instance.
Stephenson later released a statement through his club, indicating his embarrassment at the betting blunder.
“It was an incredibly naive thing to do,” he said.
“I’m embarrassed that I’ve let myself, my family, my teammates and our loyal fans down and I’m devastated that I won’t be able to pull on a Collingwood jumper for the next 10 weeks.
“I can’t change the past, but what’s most important is what I do next.”
Jaidyn Stephenson has been handed a 22-match ban (12 matches suspended) and fined $20,000 for betting on three @CollingwoodFC games.
— AFL (@AFL) June 19, 2019
Stephenson’s initial 22-match ban was reduced by 12 games after he self-reported to the AFL on May 19.
They will remain suspended for the rest of his career.
He will be ineligible to play for the AFL club’s feeder side, in the Victorian Football League, during his suspension.
However, the second-year player will be allowed to play in September and return for the first week of finals, if the Magpies remain in contention.
News of Stephenson’s ban comes as the AFL faces mounting scrutiny from fans over a perceived increase in the level of security patrolling crowds, and its delayed apology to Sydney Swans great Adam Goodes for a lack of action during his battle against racism.