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No incidents of betting integrity problems were reported to the Gambling Commission during the Rugby World Cup, it has been announced.

A review of the event, conducted by the Gambling Commission in conjunction with the National Crime Agency (NCA), UK Police and World Rugby, included an examination of intelligence and betting referrals, as well as information gathered for the tournament held in the UK. 

The three bodies have welcomed World Rugby’s proactive approach across education, monitoring and active stakeholder engagement areas. The initiative of installing dedicated integrity officers, who were drawn from the integrity units of other sports and security backgrounds, to deliver education to all players, management and match officials proved highly successful.

Gambling Commission Executive Director, Nick Tofiluk said: “It is appropriate to say that due to the efforts applied and compared to some others, rugby is currently considered a low-risk sport in this area. Notwithstanding that, it is great that World Rugby takes seriously the area of corruption and its collaborative approach with all stakeholders is a vital element of its success.

“The face-to-face engagement with players, coaches, support personnel and match officials at the tournament acted as a supplement to the online education component all participants were required to complete prior to arrival in England. This has helped to raise awareness and make people understand their obligations under the integrity programme and recognise the potential threats.

“The reporting mechanisms and monitoring put in place allowed early identification and investigation of any irregularities or suspicious activities and this is so important in the current climate.” 

The Gambling Commission, which has already commenced working with other major sports events organisers coming to the UK over the next three years, has prepared a report regarding the betting integrity support arrangements in place at the RWC 2015.  This provides learning points that can be adapted for future events based on the successful RWC 2015 model and approach.

World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Corruption in all its forms is a huge issue in world sport and, while there is no reason to believe rugby faces a specific problem in this area, it would be naïve to think it could not happen to us. We must not become complacent but rather we must redouble our efforts to know the risks, be vigilant, constantly review our processes and seek independent advice on a regular basis.

“As far as Rugby World Cup 2015 is concerned, it is pleasing to know the tournament was free from manipulation. The NCA and the police, acting in conjunction with the Gambling Commission, provided invaluable assistance and inter-agency co-ordination in the lead up to and throughout the tournament. I thank them for their assistance.”

All four entities re-affirmed their partnership and intention to continue to work together and share intelligence to protect rugby from corruption, including for the London round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in May and the World Rugby U20 Championship 2016 in Manchester in June. 

Notes to editors 

  1. The Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU) within the Gambling Commission deals with reports of betting-related corruption. It was set up as part of the recommendations in the 2010 Report of the Sports Betting Integrity Panel.
  2. World Rugby: Through its Integrity Unit, World Rugby has pursued a steady anti-corruption policy focused primarily upon education and information-sharing aimed at ensuring that players, match officials and their support personnel are aware of the risks of grooming, match manipulation and how insider information can be valuable to corruptors. Through a case study-driven online education programme combined with targeted face-to-face supplementary education, which involved more than 2,600 players, match officials and support personnel in 2015, the risks of match manipulation and the means by which players and match officials could be targeted by corruptors are now clearer. Since 2013, World Rugby has engaged in active monitoring of its key events and matches and every match in the RWC 2015 was monitored by a specialist agency in conjunction with the World Rugby Integrity Unit. Information about the World Rugby integrity programme can be found at www.worldrugby.org
  3. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
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Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk 

Posted on 13 April 2016