New Zealand warns players about tough betting penalties

Wed Apr 2, 2014 12:59am EDT
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The International Rugby Board's new stringent anti-corruption regulations are ways to stamp out illicit behavior in future rather than fight any current systemic corruption in the game, the sport's governing body in New Zealand said on Wednesday.

The IRB has ramped up their anti-corruption fight with warnings that people involved in match-fixing could face a lifetime ban while players even placing a bet on a game could be slapped with a one-year suspension.

The regulations, however, are seen as more preventive in nature, the New Zealand Rugby Union's general manager of professional rugby, Neil Sorensen, said.

"We haven't heard of anyone betting (illegally) on rugby but we don't want to risk it," Sorensen told Reuters. "But the more global that rugby gets and the more there is live television coverage to places where illegal betting is massive, the risks do increase.

"So the more that people understand the risks, the better they are able to deal with it in the future."

Sorensen added that gambling on rugby was relatively small on the worldwide sports betting market with the total wagered last year on the entire Super Rugby competition about NZ$600 million ($519.78 million).

A single one-day international cricket match could have as much as NZ$6 million wagered on it, he said.

Under the new regulations the NZRU said that almost 2,000 people involved in professional and semi-professional rugby within New Zealand would now be prevented from placing a bet on the sport anywhere in the world and they would be asked to sign a pledge to abide by the new conditions.   Continued...

New Zealand captain D J Forbes holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after beating England in the Cup final of the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong March 30, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip