BATLEY BULLDOGS will stand by two players who have been banned for breaching rugby league’s betting rules.
Full-back/winger Jonny Campbell was suspended for 12 months by an RFL operational rules tribunal and centre Ayden Faal picked up a six-month ban.
Campbell was punished for placing bets on a number of matches, including last year’s Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final which he played in for Batley against Sheffield Eagles.
The 26-year-old placed a bet for the first points of the Grand Final to come from a Batley penalty goal and placed a handicap bet on the fixture.
Faal, 27, did not play in the final, but also bet on the first points coming from a Bulldogs penalty kick.
Bulldogs did go ahead through a penalty goal in last September’s title clash, before Campbell scored their only try.
Bulldogs general manager Paul Harrison said: “Obviously the club’s disappointed.
“We can’t condone what they have done, but we want to support the players and make sure they get the help they need.
“It is a player welfare thing and we’ll need help from the RFL on that.”
Bulldogs were expecting the players to be suspended, but have been surprised by the length of the bans.
Harrison said a board meeting will be held over the weekend to discuss the matter, but he stressed: “There won’t be any sackings.”
Campbell scored 10 tries in 27 appearances last year, while Faal played in 21 games and touched down five times.
The suspensions are a significant setback to Batley, who begin their Championship campaign away to Leigh Centurions tomorrow.
Harrison added: “We have only got a small squad anyway and it is a massive blow to us.
“We have lost two key players just before the season starts and we will have to replace them for this season and see what happens then. But the main thing is the players’ welfare.”
RFL rules prevent players from betting on any match, either for themselves or others.
The Bulldogs duo were also found to have breached a rule which prevents players using information not readily available or in the public domain.
An RFL statement said: “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 betting activity.
“The tribunal accepted that there was no suggestion of match fixing in the breaches of Operational Rules by Campbell and Faal.”