THE AFL has dramatically stamped out moves to introduce head-to-head betting on country football this season.
Betting agency Ladbrokes today shelved plans to offer head-to-head betting on games in Victorian community football this season, just days after they announced the move.
A Ladbrokes spokesman said it had “put on hold” its plans to offer head-to-head markets in select community senior football leagues this season “after consultation with the AFL”, but did not rule it out happening in the future.
The leagues in Victoria were Goulburn Valley, Ovens and Murray and the suburban Northern league Division 1, and also the Queensland Football League.
“While Ladbrokes has every faith in its internal measures to uphold the integrity of these leagues, as an official betting partner of the AFL, we accept the umpire’s decision,” Ladbrokes spokesman Roger Oldridge said.
“We will continue to consult with the AFL and potentially look to offer these markets in the future.”
Ladbrokes will continue to take bets on the senior premiership markets for the leagues.
Goulburn Valley League chairman David Roff said he was pleased the markets would not be offered.
“Obviously it was a commercial decision of theirs, we don’t have any influence, but when the announcement was made it had the potential to complicate things in what is country footy,” he said.
AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Martin Gleeson, whose area includes the Goulburn Valley League, said head-to-head betting could bring into question the integrity of some games and the threat of players betting on particular games.
“My personal opinion is I don’t really see the need for head-to-head betting in community football, so if they’ve decided not to go ahead with that, we are totally supportive of that,” Gleeson said.
Ovens and Murray league chairman Graeme Patterson was unaware of Ladbrokes’ plans but was pleased with the outcome.
“To be honest I don’t know whether there is a place in country sport for that, and I don’t know what the take up would be, but I’m pleased if the AFL have stepped in and suggested it wouldn’t be encouraged in country sport,” he said.
“We’re surrounded by betting and gambling and I don’t have a philosophical difference about that, it’s part of the society we live in.
“But when we’re looking at community-based sport and volunteer sport it puts a different focus on it which I don’t think is necessary.”