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Stephenson suspended

Press Conference: Jaidyn Stephenson Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson, player Jaidyn Stephenson and GM of Football Geoff Walsh face the media after Stephenson's 10-game suspension.

Collingwood forward Jaidyn Stephenson will miss the next 10 rounds of the 2019 AFL season for placing a series of bets on matches involving the Magpies.

Stephenson has been suspended by the AFL for 10 matches and fined $20,000 for his gambling activity. A further 12 match suspended sentence has also been handed to the 20 year-old, who will be available to return to the field in the first week of finals should Collingwood qualify.

The 12 match suspended sanction will apply for the remainder of Stephenson’s career. He will not be able to play VFL football throughout his 10 match ban.

All who play or work in the AFL industry are forbidden from gambling on AFL matches.

Stephenson placed three multi bets, worth a total of $36, on three Collingwood matches through the betting account of a friend. Uneasy with his mistake, Stephenson disclosed the wagering to the club and, subsequently, to the AFL.

The matches in question were against the Western Bulldogs in round four, Essendon in round six and St Kilda in round nine.

He did not bet against Collingwood with any of these outlays but always for Collingwood or Collingwood players, including himself. He placed bets on Collingwood success. None paid a dividend.

None of the Collingwood players Stephenson placed bets on were aware of him doing so and the AFL has cleared Stephenson of influencing in any way the outcome or course of an AFL game. 

Stephenson described his betting as “acts of stupidity” that he felt guilty about.

“It was an incredibly naïve thing to do,” he said.

“I’m embarrassed that I’ve let myself, my family, my teammates and our loyal fans down and I’m devastated that I won’t be able to pull on a Collingwood jumper for the next 10 weeks.

“I can’t change the past, but what’s most important is what I do next.”

Collingwood CEO, Mark Anderson, said “all of our players and staff are aware that gambling on AFL matches, particularly Collingwood matches, is against the rules.

“The integrity of our sport is paramount and we all have a responsibility to protect our competition.

“The game must protect itself from the threat of gambling. We therefore accept what is a tough penalty.

“Stephenson’s decision to disclose his betting spoke to his good character but could not offset his poor judgement by gambling on matches that involved Collingwood.

“It is commendable that Jaidyn willingly came forward with his mistake. That he sought to make good on his earlier poor judgement.

“He chose not to bury his secret and live with it alone but reveal it, regardless of the consequences. This was undoubtedly an act of good conscience from a young man.

“We must balance his mistake with the actions he took to repair that mistake.

 “We will continue to support Jaidyn. We know that he will learn a lot from this and as a good person we will stand by him.”