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Australian Athletes in Gambling Crisis

24 July 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the RealFooty: “Melbourne Football Club has moved to halt a gambling crisis surrounding two of its star players Daniel Ward and Travis Johnstone, who have incurred debts of close to $70,000 (US$ 46,631).

“And the club has also learnt that legal steps have been taken against retired Demon David Schwarz, a gambling colleague of Ward and Johnstone, who has debts to at least one prominent bookmaker of more than $10,000.

“…The Melbourne board has moved to support both footballers and urged the pair to have counselling for problem gambling. The club also has offered to help Ward, who feared losing his house, by entering into a repayment scheme, with money to be taken out of the footballer's wages.

“…While AFL Players Association chief executive Rob Kerr believes the game does not have a significant gambling problem, AFL football operations boss Andrew Demetriou described gambling as a `far, far’ bigger issue for football than that of recreational drugs.

“Melbourne president Gabriel Szondy was reportedly so concerned that he is investigating the extent of the gambling problem…”

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