Rugby World Cup players join fight to keep match-fixing out of rugby

Today, World Rugby has announced that all players and team officials at Rugby World Cup 2015 will have to sign up to an anti-corruption and betting education programme. The governing body of rugby union has also contracted Sportradar, the world’s leading betting monitoring agency, to look out for any suspicious betting patterns on World Cup matches.

While there has never been a problem with match-fixing in rugby union, World Rugby expects betting on the World Cup to reach record levels. Players have been told that they could be banned from rugby, or even jailed, if they bet on matches or intentionally perform below their best. They have also been told not to reveal confidential information, and to report anything suspicious.

Brett Gosper, chief executive of World Rugby, said: “Corruption is a big issue in sport and we have seen how some sports’ reputations have been damaged by incidents of match-fixing and other breaches of anti-corruption rules. While there is no evidence that a problem exists in rugby, we would be naïve to think it could not happen and it would be irresponsible not to implement appropriate measures to guard against it. Rugby is now part of the Olympic family (Sevens is on the programme at the Rio de Janeiro Games next year) and anti-corruption considerations are an integral part of the Olympic Charter. So we have a wider responsibility to the global sports family to uphold the principles of fair play and integrity in every aspect of the tournament. Anti-corruption is a crucial part of that.”

World Rugby’s “sophisticated integrity framework” around the World Cup features the contract with Sportradar, as well as partnerships with the UK Gambling Commission and UK police. Players and team administrators, as well as coaches, agents, match officials and others, must complete an online anti-corruption and betting education programme. They will also be given in-person briefings by World Rugby’s integrity officers, who will be on call throughout the tournament to deal with any queries.

World Rugby has also signed integrity memoranda of understanding with leading gambling operators, to gain access to the vast databases of betting information held by those bodies. Betting volumes and movement of odds will be monitored closely.

For more information about World Rugby, please visit www.worldrugby.org

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