New details of the alleged Brownlow betting scandal have revealed just how obvious the accused perpetrators’ actions appear to have been.
The Age reports the alleged bets came in more than 10 of the 16 games umpired by Michael Pell during the 2022 AFL season.
The bets were placed specifically on who would poll three votes.
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But the Herald Sun also reports two games where Pell was an emergency have received scrutiny.
The three field umpires are allowed to discuss the votes with the emergency umpire, though the latter does not have any input into the actual decision, but they are aware of it.
Pell was the emergency umpire in the Collingwood-Melbourne Queen’s Birthday game in Round 13, where Brody Mihocek was the surprise three-vote getter, ahead of Neale Daniher Trophy winner Clayton Oliver and the impressive Mason Cox.
Pell was also the emergency umpire in the St Kilda-Sydney game in Round 23, where the Saints became the first team in 16 years to lose yet poll all six votes. Dan Hannebery, in what is likely to be his final AFL match, polled the three.
Meanwhile The Age’s report stated total bets were laid worth up to thousands of dollars, but they were spread across different bookmakers in a failed attempt to avoid scrutiny.
The AFL was made aware of the potential issue a few days before the Brownlow Medal count.
“One source familiar with the situation estimated that the betting companies would be alerted by betting on a particular umpire’s games if it was done just two or three times, let alone more than 10 times, as Pell’s associates allegedly have done,” the report stated.
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Pell was one of four men arrested on Monday by the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit, after suspicious round-by-round betting activity on the 2022 Brownlow Medal count.
Chief football reporter at the Herald Sun, Mark Robinson, wrote one betting agency was alerted to “a punter or punters placing bets on players’ votes in different matches and winning every time.”
“By the end of the count, a red flag was beside his name.”
The league, Robinson wrote, then cross-checked the betting patterns with other betting partners and found the same individual/s placing similar bets.
Subsequent cross-checking on the games themselves then reportedly showed Pell as the one constant.
Pell umpired 16 AFL games in 2022 in what was his first season on the senior umpire list.
Two 32-year-old men from Glenroy, a 29-year-old man from Oak Park and a 27-year-old man from Drouin are expected to be charged on summons with using information to corrupt a betting event, while warrants were also carried out in Kilsyth, Craigieburn and Doreen.
Detectives seized mobile phones and electronic items while arresting the four men. They are in custody and are assisting police with the ongoing investigations.
Those offences carry a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.
The four men allegedly involved are expected to be charged on summons with using information to corrupt a betting event, which entails facing criminal charges.
AFL field umpires vote after each game for the three best players on the ground, using a 3,2,1 system.