New Zealand Rugby’s newly established integrity unit has embarked on an education campaign to raise awareness of new anti-corruption and betting regulations which aim to keep the New Zealand game clean.
A series of seminars run by NZR staff, aimed at educating the professional and semi-professional rugby community, began with the Highlanders on Tuesday.
NZR is requiring some 2000 people closely involved in rugby at that level, including players, coaches and managers, to sign a pledge to abide by the new regulations.
All are banned from betting on rugby, both here and overseas.
The regulations also apply to match officials, trainers, selectors, doctors, physiotherapists, directors, administrators, analysts, agents, family members and associates.
The maximum possible sanction for prohibited wagering is a one-year ban, while a life ban from all involvement in the game is possible for an anti-corruption breach.
Neil Sorensen, NZR’s general manager of rugby, said it was vital to protect the game’s integrity by ensuring it remained free of any kind of corruption.
“We want rugby to remain an honest test of skill and ability. Our sport has a good record, but we can’t take it for granted.”
Corruption could involve a player, coach, referee or even family members using inside information to place bets, or a player or match official intentionally fixing the outcome of a match or any part of it.
“We’ve seen international examples of the damage that corruption can do to sport and we don’t want to see that happen in rugby,” Sorensen said.
The anti-corruption initiative is part of a broader NZR integrity programme, which also aims to enhance education and monitoring around the use of supplements, prescription medicines, alcohol and drugs.