Greenberg clear, hopes image intact

He is the former administrative wonder boy whose reputation has taken a battering but Todd Greenberg hopes his future ambitions in sports management have not been soured by successive internal investigations centred on him.

An independent report compiled by barrister Dominic Villa, released on Friday, cleared the NRL head of football of any suggestion he had been made aware, when he was Canterbury chief executive in 2010, of bets placed on league games by Ryan Tandy.

The green light for Greenberg came only eight months after another independent inquiry commissioned by the NRL’s integrity unit found no wrongdoing in his conduct during the Ben Barba affair. Greenberg’s name has unquestionably been damaged by both episodes despite being cleared, raising doubts over whether he can ever hope to one day be elevated to the top job at Rugby League Central as had appeared his destiny when Dave Smith signed him as his No.2.

‘‘I’d like to think people would judge me on my performance as the NRL head of football going forward rather than on some of the things that have been mentioned over the last few months,’’ Greenberg said on Friday night. ‘‘I’ve got to do a good job in my current role and people can judge me on that. That’s what I’d ask people to do, is judge me on what I’m doing now.

‘‘I certainly don’t enjoy having my integrity questioned publicly when all throughout I’ve acted diligently, honestly and I’m being critiqued very publicly with the benefit of hindsight by a lot of people and I think that’s unfair.’’

Villa’s report concluded ‘‘no reliable evidence’’ could be found that Greenberg was shown details of Tandy’s betting on NRL games during a meeting that he and Bulldogs football manager Alan Thompson had with jockey manager John Schell in August 2010.

Schell said in a sworn police statement tendered to Tandy’s trial in 2011 that he had shown Greenberg and Thompson a ledger of bets that included four losing wagers on league games worth a total of $21,000.

The magistrate in Tandy’s trial said Schell ‘‘impressed me as [a] frank [and] comprehensive’’ witness but Villa’s report maintained there was no proof that Greenberg had seen evidence of Tandy betting on NRL matches.

An NRL statement said Schell accepted he was ‘‘quite unable’’ to say whether Greenberg or Thompson saw the betting ledger, whether they looked at it or whether they read it during their meeting at a Homebush cafe near the Bulldogs’ then offices. ‘‘He readily conceded that he did not show them the ledger for the purpose of identifying the bets on rugby league games and did not otherwise expressly make reference to Mr Tandy having bet on rugby league games,’’ Villa’s report said.

The statement said Villa had also identified a transcript of evidence that Schell gave as part of Tandy’s court case where he said he believed he showed Greenberg and Thompson the ledger ‘‘but I can’t be 100 per cent sure’’.

The investigation also focused on more than 100 text messages between Schell and Tandy – one which included a clear request from the player for a $6000 league bet - but Villa’s report said Schell had told the Tandy’s trial: ‘‘I may have shown some, I can’t be 100 per cent sure.’’

‘‘As a result of my investigation, I am not satisfied that John Schell conveyed any information to either Alan Thompson or Todd Greenberg at the meeting at Café Raw in Homebush on 18 August 2010 about gambling activities of Ryan Tandy on rugby league matches,’’ Villa said.

Greenberg added on Friday night: ‘‘I maintained consistently that I had never seen and was never presented with a ledger for any form of information that related to betting on rugby league and this week I complied with every directive, every request and submitted myself to every assessment for the independent investigation. ‘‘

Schell declined to comment.

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