Betting costly for Batley pair
Two Batley players have been banned after being found guilty of breaching the game's rules on betting, the Rugby Football League has announced.
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Winger Johnny Campbell has been suspended for 12 months by an RFL operational rules tribunal for placing bets on a number of matches, including the 2013 Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final in which he played.
Team-mate Ayden Faal, who did not play in that match, has been suspended for six months after placing a bet for the first points of the game to come from a Batley penalty goal.
Batley lost the match at the Leigh Sports Village 19-12 to defending champions Sheffield Eagles after leading 12-0 at half-time.
Campbell placed a bet for the first points of the game to come from a Batley penalty goal, which he lost, and placed a handicap bet on the fixture.
Under RFL operational rules, players are barred from betting on any rugby league match, whether it is for his own account or on behalf of anybody else.
Campbell and Faal were also deemed to have breached the rule which forbids players from using any information that is not in the public domain or readily accessible by the public for betting purposes.
An RFL statement added that both players were investigated after the activity came to light through intelligence supplied by the sports betting intelligence unit of the Gambling Commission, with whom the RFL works collaboratively to monitor unusual betting patterns.
The tribunal accepted that there was no suggestion of match-fixing.
Campbell, 26, was selected in the 2010 Championship dream team after scoring 30 tries to break the club's record for tries in a season.
Faal, 27, who formerly played with Leeds, Doncaster, Hunslet and Dewsbury, missed the Grand Final through injury.
Batley chief executive Paul Harrison said the club's directors would meet over the weekend to determine the fate of the players, who both appeared in the team's pre-season friendlies and were expected to be selected by coach John Kear for Sunday's opening match of the new season at Leigh.
Harrison told Press Association Sport: "We're going to speak to the players over the weekend and make sure they get the correct help. We're working with the RFL on player welfare.
"It's very disheartening for the club and a big blow on the eve of the season. It's a bit disappointing about the severity of the punishment but rules are rules I suppose.
"I really feel for the players, it's a massive part of their income.
"The board will be meeting over the weekend and we'll probably make a statement next week."
It is the third betting scandal to hit rugby league in the last decade.
In 2004 St Helens and Great Britain duo Sean Long and Martin Gleeson were banned for three months and four months respectively and fined £7,500 after betting on their weakened team to lose a Super League match on the handicap coupon to Bradford.
In 2011, Doncaster player Shaun Leaf was given an 18-month ban after admitting a series of gambling offences, including betting on his team to lose heavily in a Challenge Cup tie against Wakefield.