Cowboys betting sting
NORTH Queensland Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain is confident his club has no involvement in the alleged betting scandal that has resulted in prominent player manager Sam Ayoub and former firstg rader John Elias being charged by police. The pair was yesterday charged with attempt to obtain financial advantage by deception and granted conditional bail to appear in court on April 7 in relation to alleged illegal betting activity surrounding the round 24, 2010, National Rugby League clash between the Cowboys and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Mr Jourdain said he could not comment on the latest development but was firm in his belief that no Cowboys players were involved.
‘‘ We were certainly surprised because we didn’t have any wind of it beforehand,’’ he said.
‘‘ As far as I’m concerned, it’s still with the police and until they conclude all their investigations we haven’t really got any comment because we’re not involved at all.’’
Mr Jourdain said the club had yesterday spoken to all but one of its players managed by Mr Ayoub, whose highest-profile client is Johnathan Thurston.
‘‘ We caught up with just about every player who has Sam as a manager, so they’re aware of as much as we know,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ I d o n ’ t t h i n k t h e y ’ r e rattled at this stage and the relationship between t he player and their manager is really between them, so I think we still have to see where t he l egal process goes.’’
Last month New South Wales detective superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, the police commander presiding over the NRL betting investigation, told media the Cowboys had no case to answer unless new evidence came to light.
While Thurston – who has been appointed co-captain with Matt Scott for the Cowboys’ 2011 NRL premiership tilt – is Mr Ayoub’s biggest client, the 49-year-old also manages a swag of other high profile NRL players. Mr Elias, 48, played at a number of first-grade clubs including the Balmain Tigers and Eastern Suburbs.
Police said a 48-year-old man was arrested yesterday about 9.45am at a home in Punchbowl b e f o r e b e i ng taken to Bankstown Police Station.
Mr Ayoub was arrested after he attended Campsie Police Station about 11am.
Detectives also carried out a search warrant of Mr Ayoub’s business premises in Leichhardt and seized a computer and other documentation.
‘‘ We will be alleging these i n d i v i d u a l s d i s h o n e s t l y placed bets on the NRL game b e t ween t he Canterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys on August 21, 2010, in the knowledge that the outcome of the game had been pre-determined,’’ Supt Katsogiannis said.
The only person that had been charged over the alleged scandal prior to yesterday’s arrests was Bulldogs’ player Ryan Tandy, who appeared in a Sydney court yesterday to face charges of lying to police.
The alleged scandal involved a plunge on a betting option that the first points of the round 24 game would come from a penalty goal.
Tandy was penalised two minutes into the game for i mpeding Cowboys pl aymaker Grant Rovelli in front of the posts, but former Cowboys utility Anthony Watts took the tap and passed to Ty Williams who scored in the corner.
NRL chief executive David Gallop told reporters yesterday the situation would have to be played out in the courts.
‘‘ It’s a seriously alarming development in events," he said.
‘‘ I can’t comment on the guilt or innocence of those t hat have been charged. What I can say is the game is strong in its resolve to investigate these types of issues, make sure that it’s placed in the hands of the police quickly.
‘‘ We’ve done that on this occasion and we now need to let them and the court process play out."
Player manager Sam Ayoub leaves Campsie police station yesterday after being questioned by police