AFL umpire Michael Pell is reportedly the match official at the centre of the Brownlow Medal scandal that has shocked the AFL in recent days.

On Monday, detectives of the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit have confronted four men suspected of taking part in an illegal gambling operation on the 2022 AFL Brownlow medal, arresting all and seizing their mobile phones.

Reports emerged that a person had knowledge of the voting tally prior to the vote count, and knowingly distributed this information to a group of people. The AFL has since confirmed those reports.

According to multiple reports, Pell is the umpire entangled in the scandal and was among the four men arrested.

Pell officiated 17 AFL games in 2022 after bveinf promoted to the field umpires list this year.

“In the days following the 2022 Brownlow Medal count, the AFL was made aware of potential suspicious activity by one of our betting agency partners and the AFL Integrity unit immediately gathered further information,” AFL EGM Football and General Counsel Andrew Dillon said in a league statement on Monday afternoon.

“Given the nature of the alleged activity we engaged Sports Integrity Australia and Victoria Police to assist with the matter.

“I want to stress that neither Victoria Police, nor the AFL have information to suggest that the outcome of the Brownlow Medal was impacted as the allegations relate solely to the leaking or improper communication of the 3,2,1 voting outcomes of some specific matches during the season.

“Post-game, the Brownlow votes are sealed and stored in a secure off-site location and not opened until they are delivered on stage on Brownlow night. The sealed vote cards are audited throughout the season by KPMG.”

There is nothing to suggest that the vote count itself was manipulated, however police are still seeking information about how the tally was released and how much money was awarded or otherwise involved.

Warrants have been issued to multiple residential properties where the arrests and electronic item confiscations were made. The current suspects can be revealed as two 32-year-old men from Glenroy, a 29-year-old man from Oak Park and a 27-year-old man from Drouin.

The possibility of up to 10 years imprisonment lingers for these men who are currently assisting the police investigation in custody.

Intelligence & Covert Support Commander, Deb Robertson spoke on the matter.

“We have a dedicated team of detectives at the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit who are committed to investigating any and all allegations of corruption in sport," she said in a statement.

Brownlow Medallist Patrick Cripps during a media opportunity at Crown Melbourne Riverside, September 19 2022 (Photo by Jake Benoiton / Zero Digital Media)

“Victorians are well known for their love of AFL and in particular, the prestigious Brownlow Medal award, but equally they want to know that there is integrity, fairness and honesty behind this award.

“We have been working with the AFL and Sport Integrity Australia in relation to these matters, and we will continue to work together to target, disrupt and apprehend people who commit these offences.

“The public assistance is a really key part – we know there are people out there involved in sport who see or hear things they know are not right and we need them to speak up. This can also be done confidentially via Crime Stoppers.”

Carlton's Patrick Cripps remains the legitimate 2022 AFL Brownlow medallist.


  1. ……are they (umpires) making spot bets in games as well?

    It would most certainly explain a lot of “decisions”…..

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