FORMER LEEDS Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats full-back Richard Mathers has been suspended from all rugby league activity for six months after being found guilty of breaching the sport’s rules relating to betting.
An independent tribunal found Mathers – now of London Broncos – guilty of providing inside information on his club’s 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.
Mathers was deemed to be in breach of three RFL Operational Rules as follows:
22.214.171.124 Using in relation to betting, or providing to any other person for use in relation to betting, any information relating to any match, competition or event(s) that the person has in his possession by virtue of his position within the sport and that is not in the public domain or readily accessible by the public without unreasonable restriction, save in the proper performance of that person’s duties including but not limited to providing information to the RFL Compliance Manager;
126.96.36.199 Soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or facilitating any person to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this clause 3.1.3;
3.3 Each person shall be held directly and personally responsible for any acts or omissions of the type described in clauses 3.1 and 3.2, above, committed by his coach, trainer, manager, agent, family member or other affiliate or associate of his, provided that the person had knowledge of, or assisted, encouraged, aided, abetted, or was otherwise complicit in, such acts or omissions. In that event, the person shall be treated as having committed such acts or omissions himself and shall be liable accordingly under this Betting Code.
The offences all relate to the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie at Leigh Centurions played on March 20 this year.
In handing down its decision, the tribunal took into account Mathers’ positive good character, the fact he did not place any bets himself or profit from his position, and the impact the offence has had on his career.
The suspension runs from July 28 until January 28, 2016.
Mathers released a statement condemning the tribunal’s findings.
He said: “I totally refute the tribunal’s decision. I want to make absolutely clear I have never had any involvement in betting or encouraging betting by providing inside information within rugby league.”
Mathers added he is now “considering various legal avenues”.