RFU and ESSA team-up to protect rugby

Sports Betting

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has teamed up with international sports betting integrity body ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) to protect rugby in England from potential match manipulation and sports betting breaches.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both parties will see ESSA employ its monitoring and alert system covering its members’ regulated betting markets, which comprises some of the largest operators in the world, to monitor for any suspicious betting patterns.

ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali said: “No one can or should be complacent in the face of criminal elements intent on corrupting any sport to defraud betting companies. ESSA therefore welcomes the continuing proactive approach of the RFU and the formation of this alliance. The RFU is among a group of sports bodies that have made important and effective strides in this area and ESSA remains committed to working in partnership with those responsible organisations.”

Angus Bujalski RFU Legal & Governance Director said: “While no instances of betting related match-fixing have to date been identified in English rugby union we need to continue to be vigilant. We have already put in place a range of measures to raise awareness and to set clear rules to maintain the integrity of the game. This MoU is another important milestone in that process and complements our existing work. English rugby has so far been free of betting related match-fixing and we are working hard with our partners such as ESSA to ensure that it remains that way.”

ESSA holds positions on match-fixing and betting policy forums at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the IOC. It is driving a number of important initiatives aimed at addressing match-fixing and is currently involved in four anti-match-fixing projects, having hosted an international betting integrity conference at Lords Cricket Ground at the end of last year,  attended by over 150 senior officials from sports bodies, regulators and other key stakeholders.

ESSA’s Q3 integrity report for 2017 stated that 72 cases of suspicious betting had been referred to the relevant authorities during the quarter, adding to a total of 152 alerts over the first three quarters of the year; the 2017 annual report will be available shortly. The RFU is a member of the UK Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF).