The AFL’s two best-known players, Dustin Martin and Buddy Franklin, met at a restaurant table in Sydney with the colorful big-game and former brothel owner Eddie Hayson aroused concern and interest among athletes and police officers

Richmond Champion Martin flew into Sydney the first week of December to meet up with Mr Hayson, a controversial punter who has been of interest to the police for years and who previously caused controversy by using inside information from NRL players to gamble Matches

Franklin booked on Aug. A table for three for dinner at Giorgio’s Cafe in Kings Cross on December 8th, is believed the Sydney Swans star didn’t know who Hayson was when he arrived over dinner and drinks to meet Martin who was The Big Punter at least half an hour with Franklin, Martin and former soccer player Tom Derickx before leaving with Martin

Official sources confirmed that detectives received CCTV footage of the players with Mr. Hayson after the nation’s newly-formed sports guard, Sport Integrity Australia, alerted NSW police

Sources close to Franklin insisted he had no relationship with Mr. Hayson had past or present and didn’t know who he was when he came to Martin

Martin’s manager Ralph Carr initially denied that the Tigers’ premier player was Mr. Hayson had met and described the proposal as “rubbish” When told the couple was being filmed, he said, “Who cares?”

Mr. Hayson has long been of interest to police and sports integrity organizations because of his overlapping networks that include criminal staff, professional punting, and the elite sports world, with no evidence that the former brothel owner is involved in any criminal activity shrugged in 2018 when organized crime investigators conducted an NRL match-fixing investigation

While there is no evidence of wrongdoing arising from Martin’s relationship with Mr. Hayson, it highlights a longstanding problem for professional sports administrators the potential exploitation of sports stars by numbers that pose an integrity risk

In 2006, Mr Hayson and colleague Steve Fletcher won an estimated $ 2 million in a betting drop after allegedly gaining inside information that Newcastle Knights star Andrew Johns would not play due to injury / p>

At the time, Mr. Hayson owned racehorses with Johns and his brother Matthew. Subsequent investigation by the NRL found nothing wrong and no criminal charges were made

NRL officials were later troubled by Mr Hayson’s friendship with Star League player Kieran Foran and insisted that Foran’s contract with Canterbury included a clause banning his association with the infamous player, which was banned for Life from Sydney’s Star Casino as well as betting with the TAB

In 2014, Mr. Hayson lost control of his high-end brothel stiletto and declared himself insolvent with a debt of $ 52 million.He later admitted he was providing free sex to a variety of footballers in the brothel, but he was expecting no consideration

“???? This is how I advertised my business” ???? Mr. Hayson said word of mouth is a very powerful toolâ ????

When asked if he had offered free sex to footballers who played in games he played on, he declined to reply

The dealings between Martin and Mr Hayson also underscore the fierce behind-the-scenes campaign to protect themselves from such risks. The AFL has repeatedly warned clubs to advise their players to avoid associations that pose reputational risk, with the Code officials frequently quote the fallen star Ben Cousins Relationship to Perth’s Underworld Identity John Kizon

NSW sources said Sport Integrity Australia’s exchange of information prompted detectives to view footage of the Jan. To review December at Kings Cross Vision captured Mr. Hayson and Martin who appeared severely drunk and left the venue together around 7:30 p.m.

Sport Integrity Australia was founded in June after former Judge James Wood conducted an investigation calling for better coordination between police, regulators and sporting rules.The agency is led by the former chief federal police officer and executive director of the anti-doping Agency, David Sharpe, directed

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Buddy Franklin had had dinner with Eddie Hayson and was surprised when he got to the table.We now accept that Franklin did not have dinner with Hayson and did not know who he was was

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Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter who has been named Australian Journalist of the Year twice. Winner of ten Walkley Awards, he investigates politics, business, foreign / defense, human rights issues and police / criminal justice

Eddie Hayson

World News – AU – Integrity concerns as AFL’s two biggest stars meet Sydney’s colorful identity

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/integrity-concerns-as-afl-s-two-biggest-stars-meet-with-colourful-sydney-identity-20201217-p56oco.html