This is getting real now. The NSW Police Force has launched a formal investigation following a review of information into reported cheating at gambling and match-fixing in the National Rugby League.
Back in early June, news emerged that the NRL was plagued by allegations of match fixing.
"This is not yet a formal investigation by police. There are no specific charges yet. They are in the early stages of making an assessment," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said at the time.
We now have a formal investigation and it has a name. Detectives from the NSW State Crime Command's Organised Crime Squad have launched Strike Force Nuralda to investigate the matters and determine if any criminal offences have been committed.
Police said they will be working closely with the NSW Crime Commission, and have the full support of the NRL.
The investigation is expected to be protracted, with dozens of players, officials, and members of the community expected to be interviewed in the coming months.
Neither the police nor the NRL were able to offer any more information this Wednesday as to which players, clubs or matches would be under closest scrutiny, but the NRL said it will support and provide any assistance requested by the Police investigation into match fixing.
"We are not going to pre-judge any person associated with the game while this process is under way," Greenberg said.
"But I repeat my earlier warning that if any person is convicted of match fixing they will face a life ban from any involvement in Rugby League."
In June we reported that two games under particularly close scrutiny in the initial stage of the investigation were the round 16, 2015 clash between South Sydney and Manly Sea Eagles (which Souths won 20-8), and the round 24 clash between Manly and the Parramatta Eels (which the Eels won 20-16)
Rugby league has been rocked before by "spot fixing" allegations in the past but never by match fixing.
Spot fixing is deliberately fixing the outcome of a particular moment in a match. This allegedly took place in 2010 when a huge amount of money came for the unusual option of a penalty goal as the first scoring option.
Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy was accused of deliberately giving away a penalty in the front of the opposition goalposts. He denied any involvement but was arrested and found guilty of manipulating the first scoring point of the game. Tandy died of a drug overdose in 2014.
Match fixing, as the name suggests, is the act of deliberately engineering the result of a sporting contest.Suggest a correction