The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international sports betting integrity body ESSA.
Through this new link up, English rugby is set to be protected from potential match manipulation and sports betting breaches.
Under the terms of the agreement the RFU, a member of the UK Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF), is set to benefit from ESSA’s monitoring and alert system.
This covers its members regulated markets, which comprise some of the largest operators in the world, and is designed to monitor for any suspicious betting patterns.
ESSA Secretary General Khalid Ali, commented: “No one can or should be complacent in the face of criminal elements intent on corrupting any sport to defraud betting companies.
“ESSA therefore welcomes the continuing proactive approach of the RFU and the formation of this alliance.
“The RFU is among a group of sports bodies that have made important and effective strides in this area and ESSA remains committed to working in partnership with those responsible organisations.”
Angus Bujalski, Legal & Governance Director at the RFU, added: “While no instances of betting related match-fixing have to date been identified in English rugby union we need to continue to be vigilant.
“We have already put in place a range of measures to raise awareness and to set clear rules to maintain the integrity of the game. This MoU is another important milestone in that process and complements our existing work.
“English rugby has so far been free of betting related match-fixing and we are working hard with our partners such as ESSA to ensure that it remains that way.”
ESSA, whose members include the likes of BetVictor, Betsson and Sky Bet, is currently involved in four anti-match fixing projects simultaneously.
In its Q3 integrity report, the firm details that 72 cases of suspicious betting had been referred to the relevant authorities during the quarter.