In what appears to be a ridiculously bureaucratic ruling, an Australian football side touring close neighbours New Zealand has been threatened with heavy fines if it runs on in football strip carrying the logo of Australian betting website Centrebet.
New Zealand government officials are invoking a little known law which rules that no ‘foreign' betting agency can promote, induce or encourage citizens to gamble outside NZ.
The Newcastle Jets from Newcastle, Australia were told that sporting the Centrebet logo on their shirts when they run on against Wellington Phoenix FC in New Zealand this weekend could result in fines of NZ$200 000. The team is in last minute negotiations with the Kiwi authorities, with some team members threatening to play with no shirts at all if the impasse continues.
Centrebet media chief Neil Evans weighed in by characterising the New Zealand action as "a joke." He added that it was yet another example of “dinosaur legalization” that threatened to reverse much-needed future sponsorship deals between the countries.
“It’s amazing to think that in the A-League, NRL, Super 14 and ANZ Netball Championship, Australian clubs are playing on New Zealand soil all the time," said Evans. "And when you consider many Kiwi-based sides are part of Australian-run competitions, this is one of the most ‘head-in-the-sand’ stances I’ve seen."