Doncaster captain Shaun Leaf has been banned for 18 months and fined £500 after being found guilty of betting on rugby league matches.
An RFL tribunal decided the 27-year-old centre had broken the rules by gambling on at least four matches, including two involving his own team. Leaf had provisionally been suspended since May when the Sun newspaper revealed that he bet £200 against Doncaster in their Challenge Cup fourth round defeat by Wakefield at the Keepmoat.
Leaf, who did not play in the game because of a thumb injury, won his bet after Wakefield scored four tries in the last 12 minutes to complete a 50-10 scoreline, the last of them passing the 38-point handicap that they had been given on the betting coupon. The tribunal say Leaf also gambled on a Championship match between Doncaster and Toulouse on August 22, 2009, and on other games. They also found Leaf guilty of engaging in conduct that impaired public confidence in the integrity and/or the honest and orderly conduct of a match and competition.
Leaf was found not guilty of providing privileged information to a third party to assist in betting activity, seeking to influence improperly the result of a match or engaging in conduct that was corrupt or fraudulent.Leaf’s suspension will backdated to the date his provisional suspension began, May 12, which means he will not be able to resume his career until the 2013 season.
Leaf, who joined Doncaster from Hull KR, claimed in the newspaper that gambling remains widespread among players despite the tightening up of regulations that followed the 2004 scandal when GB internationals Sean Long and Martin Gleeson were found guilty of betting against their own St Helens team.