Like many clubs, the Wanderers are constantly bombarded with sponsorship offers from bookmakers. CEO John Tsatsimas admitted that it would have been easier – and financially more beneficial – for them to accept these overtures, especially since the A-League has an ongoing partnership with Bet365.
But Tsatsimas said it is ultimately a choice, either to contribute or to help resolve what he considers to be one of the biggest problems in their community.
"We always said we were not just a football club," he said. "We can never be just a football club, otherwise we are another ordinary organization in the sports landscape."
“Some of these problems are very close to our members, our fans, our players and our staff. If we are able to contribute in any way, to be involved in something that is making a significant contribution – be it awareness, a visual piece that triggers a thought process – we have to be part of it and see what we can do to help develop our club and community programs.
"That is very important to us. We cannot ignore it. The stories are very easy to spot and pop up quickly. You can't say you don't know about it. I am not asking anyone to say that it is not a serious problem. "
Wanderers are the first club in Australia to join the Reclaim the Game campaign, which Cricket NSW also supported last year. As part of this, any club controlled event or opportunity will be free from gambling advertising or discussion in any form.
"We think you should be able to enjoy sports without betting," said Natalie Wright, director of the Office of Responsible Gambling. "That's why we're working with sports codes and teams to get the game back and get back to what the sport is supposed to be about." The Wanderers showed great leadership as the first A-League club to join the Reclaim the Game initiative. "
Jets call Deans their boss
Meanwhile, Newcastle Jets have confirmed that caretaker boss Craig Deans has been appointed as the club's full-time head coach for at least the next two seasons.
Deans has spent most of the past 20 years as a player or coach in the Hunter. He worked several times as interim trainer for the Jets – his last tenure began in October after Carl Robinson's shock defect with the Wanderers.
Deans has had an extremely encouraging start to the new season under difficult circumstances off the field in Newcastle. His formidable work effectively got the hand of the club's temporary owners who decided he was the right man for the job.
"I'm just very proud to finally have the opportunity to stop being an interim coach," he said. "It doesn't change too much in terms of the title, it's just possible, with the help of the players, to have a little clarity about the direction I want to take the club." The potential here is enormous. "
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Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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