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Mitchell Johnson leaves ABC Radio commentary role over betting clause

Australian cricket legend Mitchell Johnson has left his role at ABC Radio over a betting clause in his contract.

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The former fast bowler was in line to commentate on One Day International matches in Queensland, starting this weekend, but ABC Radio reportedly does not allow anyone associated with a gambling company to work for it. Johnson, along with former AFL player Brendan Fevola, is used in advertising for Bet Nation, a new sports gambling firm based in Australia.

Johnson has accused ABC of hypocrisy, saying that the Australian Government - which funds the public broadcaster - raises a significant amount of its revenue from taxes on gambling.

ABC covers sports such as cricket, the Australian Football League (AFL), and the National Rugby League (NRL), all of which involve some form of corporate sponsorship from betting firms.

As noted by Code Sports, Cricket Australia has 27 approved betting providers and has been in partnership with bet365 for a decade, while the AFL is closely aligned with Sportsbet.

“I have really enjoyed working with the ABC team over recent seasons and was looking forward to doing it again,” said Johnson. “There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy that goes with this rule. I don’t understand and you start to wonder about what you can and can’t say if you are calling for them.

“It’s blown me away a little bit: do we have to make sure we have to align with the ABC’s moral compass? There’s nothing I can do about it… that’s the rule and I guess I’m not going to work with them.”

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