New enhanced Game-wide education programme

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 28 November 2012
 New enhanced Game-wide education programme

  • Global education programme at heart of the Regulation
  • Revised Regulation 6 aimed at protecting players
  • Anti-corruption policy central to integrity of sport

The International Rugby Board has announced details of an unprecedented anti-corruption and betting education programme, aimed at protecting the global Rugby family.

The programme, which will be rolled out across Member Unions during 2013, is at the heart of revisions to Regulation 6 unanimously approved by the IRB at its Special Meeting of Council in Dublin on Tuesday. The new Regulation will become effective from January 3, 2013.

The revised Anti-Corruption Regulations establish a set of regulations and a scheme of enforcement and sanctions that will apply across the Game at Test and professional Rugby level.

They follow wide-ranging IRB consultation and set a new global best practice for sporting integrity regulations that builds upon the recommendations of the IOC and other elite sporting bodies to International Federations.

Key features of the IRB integrity programme include:

- Enhanced regulations to prevent match fixing, spot fixing and misuse of inside information
- Zero tolerance of corruption with potential life bans
- Prevention of corrupt outsiders entering the Game
- Detailed education campaign aimed at players, match officials, Union and club personnel

The IRB recognises that education is key to the successful implementation of these revised Anti-Corruption Regulations. The IRB will work with its Member Unions to run an intensive programme of education for all stakeholders, including the delivery of workshops, online and printed materials.

The announcement reaffirms the IRB's commitment to continue collaborating with the global sporting family to take a progressive and best-practice approach to prevention and education. The IRB is involved in a number of working parties within the IOC, Sport Accord and the European Union expert group to combat match fixing in sport.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Match fixing and corruption is one of the biggest threats to all sports and while there is no history of prevalence in Rugby, it is important that we continue to review our Regulations to ensure that they are fit for purpose in safeguarding the Rugby community from such threats."

"The revised Regulation is a progressive and forward-thinking approach. As custodians of the Game, it is the responsibility of the IRB and its Member Unions to protect and promote the integrity of our sport through the delivery of robust regulations."

"We should be making all efforts within our power to preserve the fundamental character of sporting competition as an honest test of skill and ability and to prevent corrupt gambling practices from undermining the integrity of the Game."

All IRB Member Unions were given the opportunity to contribute to the consultation process and will be informed and fully briefed on the revised Regulation and the associated education programme.

Regulation 11 - Advertising Within the Playing Enclosure

Council also approved an amendment to Regulation 11 to allow greater flexibility to Unions regarding the application of advertising marks and national emblems on playing, training and warm up kit.
Currently under the Regulation Unions are subject to strictly limited provisions around the number and size of emblems, marks, names or numbers on the playing kit of its National Representative Teams.

The revisions will allow greater flexibility in a commercial context which will in particular benefit smaller IRB Member Unions to maximise the commercial potential surrounding their national kit. The initial request for change came from a group of such smaller Unions who wanted to enable more than one sponsor to be able to advertise on their national jersey.

The revised rules allow flexibility but do not expose the kit to unrestricted commercial exposure. In that way the integrity of the international jersey is preserved in a modern context.

Revisions include:

- greater flexibility on location of logo positioning
- clarification on how the marks / emblems are measured
- ability for players to print their names on their boots

The revised Regulation will come into effect on January 3, 2013.

Regulation 17 - Illegal and Foul Play

The IRB Council also approved minor revisions to Regulation 17 governing illegal and foul play. The revisions address interpretation matters following the introduction of the restructured Regulation in June of this year.

Support was expressed for the system of discipline in force and focused on the imperative that Unions invest in identifying and training disciplinary personnel who will implement the system around the world. The underlying objective of achieving greater consistency and the universal application of core principles including sanctions remains at the core of the Regulation.

The Council extended the SANZAR trial of supplementary disciplinary rules for the 2013 Super Rugby competition. The trial includes permitting Citing Commissioners to issue off-field yellow cards, enables Judicial Officers to expunge yellow cards issued by referees in appropriate cases, and also enables Judicial Officers to issue off field yellow cards. The Council will consider the outcomes of the trial at its Annual Meeting in 2013.

Regulation 9 - Player Release

The issue of player release was discussed by the IRB Executive Committee who reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that the best players are made available for their country if selected through IRB Regulation 9.

The IRB considers this important regulation central to the integrity of the international Game and the next steps focus on specific follow up meetings with the Unions where the issue is most prevalent to discuss country-specific problems in detail, assess the robustness of the application of the Regulation and determine how best to combat the issues.