Five NRL players have been suspended after being found guilty of gambling, breaking strict zero tolerance rules in the league.
Manly Sea Eagles player David Williams has been suspended for the rest of the 2014 season after placing multiple bets on games – including several in which he was involved.
The other players include North Queensland Cowboys player Ethan Lowe, Gold Coast Titans’ Cody Nelson, and Hymel Hunt and Slade Griffin of the Melbourne Storm. All have been suspended for two games.
Along with the players, three casual game day officials have been terminated and nine others suspended for the rest of the season for gambling breaches.
Another 12 registered NRL players, staff and officials received first and final warnings for one-off offences.
The punters were discovered in an audit of betting records covering more than 1500 registered players, officials and staff.
The bets in question are believed to have been as small as $5.
NRL COO Jim Doyle said: “There is no suggestion of match fixing or inappropriate conduct on the field by those involved, but the Integrity Unit is determined to protect the interests of all players, fans and members.”
The NRL has vowed to take a zero tolerance stance against gambling with Doyle saying that “anyone who breaches the betting rules in the future can expect to spend a long stint on the sideline or lose their job”.
“We are going to step up our education of the rules and every player, official and employee is on notice that there will be no excuses for betting on games in future,” he said.
“The NRL will continue to work with the betting agencies to ensure there is no threat to the integrity of our game.”
Read the NRL’s full press release here.