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NRL to introduce in-house anti-corruption unit?

NRL to introduce in-house anti-corruption unit?
October 8, 2011
Legal / Sport /

In the aftermath of the National Rugby League (NRL) betting scandal in which Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy has been found guilty of match-fixing, the NRL is looking to introduce an in-house anti-corruption unit.

Tandy was this week fined $4,000 and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond after NSW Magistrate Janet Wahlquist said it was clear there was a plan to manipulate the first score in the August 2010 clash between the Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys.

While stating that it was satisfied that its accountability structure was proved to have worked in detecting the betting plunge and then passing the matter on to police, the NRL is considering hiring internal anti-corruption personnel on top of the present policy of enlisting external industry experts and police on such issues.

The international cricket and tennis bodies have similar departments on their payrolls with a singular goal of rooting out match-fixing.

NRL Media and Communications Director John Brady explained that in rooting out match fixing the NRL "will use the best people at all times. They may be internal people or external people - we believe the correct approach is to use the best people in each situation.

"There is great value in using people like Ray Murrihy (Racing NSW Chief Steward), and also the police. As soon as there's been any issues we have got independent experts in. But we're always looking at procedures and how we can review them to strengthen that strategy."

Murrihy was initially engaged by the NRL to conduct the investigation on the Bulldogs-Cowboys game last year before the matter was referred to NSW Police.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that there are several layers to the NRL's existing anti-corruption measures. Integrity agreements are in place with all associated betting agencies under which bookmakers are obliged to provide detail of bets laid with them on games.

It was because of this arrangement that the NRL was first tipped off about the plunge in Townsville more than 13 months ago. TAB Sportsbet's Media Manager Glenn Munsie phoned Brady on the afternoon of the game to tell him of the unusual weight of money on the Cowboys to score first with a penalty goal. Before long Murrihy was called in to check it out.

The NRL also has the ability to exchange information on suspicious betting with its partners in the Coalition of Major Professional Sports, a group of seven sports behind the push for new federal laws on match-fixing.

Tandy faces a life ban from the game unless he can have the conviction overturned on appeal while the NRL has announced that a number of other legal matters were still to be heard in connection with the investigation.

In respect of Tandy's ban, NRL Chief Executive David Gallop explained that "the outcome for anyone found guilty of interfering with a match for any improper purpose could not be more apparent."

Gallup also recognised Federal and State Governments' recent recognition of the importance of giving sports the legislative support and regulatory assistance in dealing with sports betting issues, adding "we look forward to seeing these policies finalised across all states."



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