The International Rugby Board has launched an interactive online awareness and educational resource dedicated to the fight against betting, match-fixing and corruption.
The fully interactive Keep Rugby Onside programme is available at www.irbintegrity.com and is central to forward-thinking revisions to the IRB’s Anti-Corruption Regulations which establishes a set of regulations and a scheme of enforcement and sanctions that have applied across the Game at elite level from January 2013.
The resource will accompany a global education process rolled out in collaboration with IRB Member Unions and the International Rugby Players' Association aimed at informing, advising and protecting players, coaches and match officials at the elite level from the dangers of betting and wagering.
Keep Rugby Onside will concentrate on the threats posed by match-fixing, the impact on family and friends, how to recognise approaches, reporting mechanisms, disciplinary procedures, actions underway by relevant authorities and how to seek help if they have been affected or suspect the integrity of a match or the sport has been compromised.
The launch, following wide-ranging IRB consultation, sets a new global best practice for sporting integrity regulations that builds upon the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and other elite sporting bodies and International Federations.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Match-fixing and corruption is one of the biggest threats to all sports. While there is no history or prevalence in Rugby, collectively 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."
"The Keep Rugby Onside site reaffirms the IRB's commitment to continue collaborating with the global Rugby and wider sporting family to take a progressive and best-practice approach to prevention and education."
IRB Disciplinary Officer Susan Ahern added: "The IRB recognises that education is key to the successful implementation of these modernised Anti-Corruption Regulations. We are collaborating with our Member Unions and partners to run a comprehensive programme of education for all stakeholders, and in particular players, team management and match officials. It's built around online information and self-assessments modules, face-to-face workshops, downloadable resources and materials."
And it's a move that has been backed by the International Rugby Players' Association.
"It is important that not only the players, but all rugby stakeholders are aware of the implications of the new Anti–Corruption regulations," said Josh Blackie of the International Rugby Player' Association.
"Throughout the IRPA network we are focused on working together with the IRB to ensure all professional players know how the new regulations affect them and how they can keep themselves safe in regard to corruption in sport."
The launch of the website and online assessment forms part of planned anti-corruption activities through the IRB's involvement in the European Union's Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport. In developing these resources, the IRB acknowledges and is extremely grateful to the European Commission Sports Unit, Six Nations Rugby Ltd, the Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby (FIRA-AER), Fédération Française de Rugby, Nederlandse Rugby Bond, Federação Portuguesa de Rugby, Deutscher Rugby Verband, Česká Rugbyová Unie and the International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) for their collaboration and support in developing the Keep Rugby Onside programme.
Integrity and the fight against illegal betting and wagering in sport will be a topic of discussion at the inaugural IRB World Rugby Convention and Exhibition in Dublin in November 2013.
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