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New betting campaign to educate 8,500 athletes

Date

09 May 2011

Sections

InfoSociety
Sports

Brussels, London 9 May 2011: The two major European gambling trade associations, the RGA and EGBA, the European Sports Security Association, along with their partners in the European player associations, EU Athletes and the PPF, have agreed to link their betting education programmes under a single code of conduct. This campaign, which started last year, will span 6 European sporting nations, 4 of the largest EU Member States (UK, Germany, France and Spain), 7 sports and target 8,500 athletes. A unique feature of this campaign is the employment of ex-players and top athletes to go into the dressing rooms and have face-to-face discussions with their peers about how to behave properly in relation to sports and betting.

Walter Palmer, General Secretary of EU Athletes, which runs the player education programme for the EGBA and ESSA, and which will see some 3,000 athletes educated across three countries in 2011, stated that: ‘The code of conduct on sports betting is designed to help European sports professionals get a grip on, and deal with, issues surrounding the integrity of sport and betting both on- and offline. The decision to adopt a common code across the two programmes can only help strengthen our message.’

Simon Taylor, General Secretary of the UK Professional Players Federation (PPF), which has developed and manages the player betting education programme funded by the RGA and three of its members (bet365, Betfair and Ladbrokes), will reach out to around 5,500 athletes this year. Mr Taylor welcomed the agreement on a single code as a ‘natural progression’ and which will ‘facilitate the exchange of best practice benefiting professional sportspeople, the integrity of sport and betting operators. This is essential in the fight against the small number of people that seek to try and corrupt sporting events.’

The two programmes have already had in the first year a major impact with athletes and in contributing to keeping sport clean with a total of 4,900 athletes reached in 2010. This position is supported by former French international basketball player and President of the French basketball players’ union SNB, Aymeric Jeanneau, who stated that: ‘These sports betting education programmes have already proved their worth in educating the athletes on the rules and regulations regarding sports betting and the issue of match- fixing. The programmes are fundamental to maintaining sporting integrity.'

Sigrid Ligné, EGBA Secretary General, added: ‘Keeping sports clean is of the highest priority for European licensed betting operators. Sportsmen play a vital role in keeping sport clean, as they are the first line of defence in integrity. That’s why we support this partnership with EU Athletes, because as player’s representatives they are best placed to educate their fellow sportsmen.’ Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, stated that: ‘European sport is essentially clean and we want it to remain so. Along with the sophisticated internal integrity mechanisms employed by licensed betting operators, we are committed to working with organisations like the PPF to detect and deter any corruption.

The player betting education programme run by the PPF is an important part of that process.’ After the first pilot year of the programmes, the main lessons learned are:

• There is a real information problem on the ground

• Some sports federations have no rules on sports betting, or fail to communicate them to athletes

• Players’ associations are well placed to provide guidance to sportsmen

• Direct, locker-room level contact with athletes is key


END

Notes to Editors

1. The new code of conduct at the heart of the education programmes sets out simple, brief but clear guidelines for professional sportsmen on how to avoid or deal with specific risks that they may face in relation to their sport and betting. Individual sportsmen will be familiarised with the new code of conduct through their national associations.

The new Code of Conduct on Sports Betting for Athletes is available at: http://www.euathletes.info/ http://www.eu-ssa.org http://www.egba.eu http://www.ppf.org.uk/ http://www.rga.eu.com/

2. The first year (2010) of the EU Athletes managed programme was rolled out in France, Spain and Germany across seven different sports associations and 4 sports benefiting around 200 teams and 2,500 athletes (in 2011 this will reach 3,000 athletes): * Spain: Spanish Basketball Players Association, Spanish Handball Players Association, Spanish Indoor Football Players Association, Spanish Cyclists Association * France: French Basketball Players Association, French Handball Players Association * Germany: German Basketball Players Association 3. In the UK, the first year (2010) of the PPF run programme centred on four sports associations and three sports, involving professional teams spanning three European sporting nations and involving 2,400 athletes (in 2011 it will reach 5,500 athletes): * England: The Professional Footballers Association (PFA), Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) and Rugby Players Association (RPA) * Scotland: The Scottish Football Players Association (PFA Scotland) * Wales: Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) More information on this programme can be found at: http://www.rga.eu.com/data/files/Pressrelease/pr__betting_ed_feb_2011_fina... About EU Athletes The European Elite Athletes Association is a federation of independent athletes associations from all over Europe with member associations from 15 European countries representing over 25,000 professional athletes. Among the sports represented are basketball, cricket, Gaelic sports, handball, ice hockey, rugby and volleyball. EU Athletes has member associations in for example Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Sweden.For more information, please visit http://www.euathletes.info/ or call General Secretary Walter Palmer at +49 951 2413679 About the PPF The PPF is the umbrella body for 10 professional player associations in the UK. Established in 1991 it is now in its twentieth year of “working for the players”. Membership ranges from the Professional Footballers Association to the British Athletes Commission to the PGA European Tour. See www.ppf.org.uk or call Simon Taylor, General Secretary of the Professional Players Federation on + 44 7726 627422 About ESSA The European Sports Security Association (ESSA) was established in 2005 by the leading online sports book operators in Europe to monitor any irregular betting patterns or possible insider betting from within each sport. To achieve this goal ESSA implemented an early warning system between its members that highlights any suspicious betting activity. The Early Warning System allows ESSA to work with the sports regulators and their disciplinary and legal department, ensuring that when an alert is given the regulator is informed immediately which may prevent the possibility of any game manipulation on a given event. So far, ESSA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FIFA, UEFA, EPFL, The FA, DFB, ATP, ITF, WTA and has established close relations with the IOC and many other sports regulators. ESSA members include: Betclic; Bet-at-Home; bwinparty; Digibet; Expekt; Goldbet; Interwetten; Ladbrokes; Paddy Power; Sportingbet; StanJames; Stanleybet, Unibet and William Hill and. For more information on ESSA please go to the ESSA website http://www.eu-ssa.org or contact Khalid Ali, Secretary General at +32 2256 7565 About EGBA The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators Bet-at-home.com, BetClic, bwinparty, Digibet, Expekt, Interwetten, and Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 79.6 Billion GGR in 2009 to € 83 Billion GGR in 2012, thus keeping the lion’s share with 87% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, April 2010. For further information or comment please contact: Sigrid Ligné: +32 2 554 08 90 www.egba.eu About the RGA The RGA is the largest online gambling trade association in the world representing over 30 of the largest licensed and stock market-listed remote gambling operators and software providers (see www.rga.eu.com). The organisation provides the remote gambling industry with a single voice on all issues of importance to regulators, legislators, and key decision makers around the world. For further information, please contact Jason Foley-Train, RGA Head of Communications +44 20 7831 2195

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