Former Rugby League player Craig Izzard has stringently denied offering financial rewards to judges in return for a guaranteed place the The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Izzard earned his nomination for the Hall of Fame after being found seriously corrupt by the ICAC, but claims he was not connected to recent mysterious cash donations to Frownlow judges.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. Kiwi international and Sydney Roosters player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while Corey Norman from the Parramatta Eels won in 2016.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.
The former representative of the Eels, Panthers, Tigers and Steelers was specifically charged with agreeing to accept bribes in exchange for not investigating unlawful asbestos dumping in his role as investigator with the Western Sydney Regional Illegal Dumping Squad (RIDS), and made a recent cameo appearance on an ABC 4 Corners investigation into Australia’s recycling industry.
“It’s a huge honour for me to even be nominated for the Hall of Fame…” stated Izzard, “…but I did not send bribes to the judges.”
Frownlow judges became suspicious when skip bins full of cash started arriving on the doorstep of the Hall of Fame.
“If the hardworking judges of The Frownlow Medal have been handsomely rewarded, that’s great, and if that cash has been traced back to the same companies featured in 4 Corners, that is just a coincidence.”
The former back rower also responded to rumours of threats made against Frownlow judges.
“I would also like to make it extremely clear that I am in no way connected to threats to dump millions of tonnes of toxic rubbish on the judges’ front lawn if I don’t get inducted into the Hall of Fame, that’s just a coincidence.”