Controversial gambling figure Eddie Hayson has welcomed a NSW police strike force to investigate NRL match fixing as a chance to clear his name.
“I hope they go and get 300 of the best detectives they have and for as long as they need to and go through everything A to Z and finally clear all the innocent people that have been dragged into this mess,” Hayson told the Nine Network.
NSW Police on Wednesday dropped a bombshell on the eve of the NRL finals when the state crime command’s organised crime squad launched strike force Nuralda following a review of “reported cheating at gambling and match-fixing” in the NRL.
Dozens of players, officials and others are expected to be interviewed in coming months, with police warning the investigation is likely to be “protracted”.
Earlier in the year, former brothel owner Hayson was reported to be a person of interest as police looked into suspicions raised about three matches.
Asked if he saw the formation of the police strike force as a positive, Hayson said: “Absolutely.”
“I would like anyone to go and dig up one game where I had a decent bet where anyone I know well has played poorly,” Hayson said.
“Nothing involving me, not a single thing. Let me make it loud and clear.”
Reports in June linked two Manly games, one against South Sydney and the other against Parramatta, to investigations.
A third Sea Eagles match, against Parramatta from this season, was later linked.
Hayson’s relationship with former Manly and Parramatta star Kieran Foran was also questioned.
The NRL has confirmed it will support the strike force investigation.
“We are not going to pre-judge any person associated with the game while this process is under way,” NRL chief executive Todd 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.”