Fearing that semi-professional competitions will be tainted with more match-fixing incidents, National Premier League NSW (NPL NSW) clubs have called on Football Federation Australia (FFA) to ban gambling on state league games.
The call came after APIA Leichhardt, one of NPL NSW’s affiliated teams, claimed that there was misconduct within the competition, with players or staff betting, match-fixing, spot-fixing or providing insider information, according to the news website Sydney Morning Herald.
APIA Leichhardt president Tony Raciti has brought the issue to the Football NSW immediately after allegations of players gambling on results have reached his office. He is convinced that the alleged match-fixing could be taking place in the NPL NSW Division 1.
In his submission to the state body, Raciti urged the FFA to prohibit gambling on semi-professional games, as well as amateur youth football and fall in line with many other codes by restricting match betting to professional tiers.
“Yes, it is correct that APIA Leichhardt has lodged a grievance with Football NSW citing significant concerns and allegations in regards to betting on NPL1 matches. It is not in the interest of the clubs and the integrity of the competition to allow betting on NPL matches and by ceasing betting on NPL matches it eliminates the innuendo and allegations. These concerns were brought to my attention and I brought these concerns to the governing body,” Raciti said.
The FFA, for its part, said it couldn’t comment on the match-fixing allegations and on the request for sports betting ban in amateur leagues since it has not received a formal complaint from Football NSW.
According to the report, Australian betting agencies have gambling agreements with the FFA to allow bets on semi-professional state leagues and the FFA Cup, which is mostly comprised of amateur or semi-professional clubs. Bets can also be placed on under-20 state youth competitions.
In return, Australian agencies will remit a percentage of the betting revenue placed on football to the FFA.
Match-fixing is not new in Australian football games. In 2014, the Victorian Premier League was dragged into a controversy when Southern Stars were found guilty of rigging games. Just recently, the FFA sanctioned a player in Tasmania for betting on games involving his own club.
Quoting an unnamed senior club administrator, the news report said that the practice of players betting on state league games is rife, fearing it could become beyond the control of clubs, suggesting “they’re all betting.”