Rugby League in betting scandal

Rugby league is under the spotlight in a national newspaper today for an alleged betting scandal centering around Doncaster player Shaun Leaf.

The Sun claims to have discovered how games are fixed and that Leaf, captain of Doncaster, bet on his own team to lose by at least 38 points against Wakefield in the Challenge Cup on Sunday.

They also allege that a top rugby league official persuaded Leaf to try and lose a game, and that he previously bet £600 on a Doncaster defeat against Toulouse in 2009.

Although Leaf missed the game on Sunday through injury, he is likely to face a hefty fine and ban if the allegations are proved through an RFL investigation.

In the article, it is also implied that there are other players who bet for or against their own club.

Leaf is quoted as saying: “Yeah. So many results come up and you think ‘they shouldn’t have beat them’.”

Then he happily explained how those results can be rigged.

Leaf added: “You can do it different ways — a knock-on or not push yourself to get to that ball.

“There’s the tackling side, too. You think on the face of it it’s pretty easy but it all depends what the other team are like … whether they’ve turned up with the right mentality.

“If you run at someone you can tell whether they’re tackling, you can feel it. Look at a team and see if they’ve got old heads — experienced players or young kids. If they’ve got young kids they won’t do it because they’ve got aspirations.”

Rugby league faced a major betting scandal in 2004, when then St Helens duo Sean Long and Martin Gleeson were found guilty of misconduct in placing bets against their team.

They were banned for three and four months respectively, fined £7,500 each and ordered to pay costs of £2,205 each.

You can read The Sun story in full here.

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