Mathers maintains innocence as his career closes

London Broncos full-back Richie Mathers has called time on his rugby league career, after being hit with a six-month suspension this year.

That ban related to a charge of breaking the RFL rules on betting, with Mathers being accused of providing inside information on the Broncos and using online messaging services to give that information to others.

“It is with considerable regret, and a degree of disillusion, that I have decided to call time on my rugby league playing career with immediate effect,” a statement from Mathers reads.

“The manner in which it has ended, battling off a potential career-threatening injury and defending a charge of ‘providing inside information on London Broncos‘ playing strengths and pre-match preparations, and of encouraging other people to bet on the outcome of a match using the social media messaging application, Whatsapp’, has had a traumatic effect on me and my family.”

Mathers insists that he is innocent, and that he hopes that one day he can once again make some contribution to rugby league.

The 31-year-old was midway through his two-year deal with the Broncos.

“I strenuously maintain my innocence of all the issues, no evidence was found against me and I was convicted on the grounds of ‘comfortable satisfaction.’,” he added.

“I was advised that a right of appeal against a finding comes with a dire warning of further risk of greater sanction and damage to my good name and career, and I had no wish to compromise or undermine the game.

“But I have subsequently found that, under ACAS regulations, this is not the case.

“I also hope to highlight to colleagues and professionals alike that they should take heed of the negative effects of social media, and the consequences that identity theft can have on your life.

“A growing number of companies are developing apps for smart phones and tablets, some of these are hard to trace, easy to manipulate, change and amend.”

Mathers also hailed various people who have contributed to his career, which has seen him play at Leeds, Wigan, Warrington, Castleford, Wakefield and Gold Coast Titans, as well as London.

He added: “Having ended my career, I would like to pay tribute to those who have selflessly helped me along the way, from my junior days at East Leeds, from dad driving me everywhere no matter what and mum washing the team kit and running up the touchline cheering, through to a wonderful professional playing career both in the UK & NRL with some exceptional team-mates.

“I have memories and friendships to last a lifetime, including a never-to-be-forgotten Grand Final win with Leeds, a World Club Challenge win with Leeds and two Challenge Cup wins with Warrington along with proudly representing England.

“I still hope that I can contribute to the sport further down the line.”

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