Leading gambling and players associations’ celebrate first year success of their joint betting education programmes

Brussels, London 26 April 2012: The gambling trade associations, the RGA, EGBA, and ESSA, along with EU Athletes and the Professional Players Federation celebrate today the first year anniversary of their joint betting education programmes (see link). They call on the sports world to enter discussions about an agreed overarching set of principles for a sports betting integrity education programme that can be adapted to local circumstances.

Over the last 12 months, EU Athletes and the Professional Players Federation (PPF) education programmes have spanned 6 European sporting nations, (including England, Germany, France and Spain), 7 sports (including football) and reached around 9200 athletes. This campaign, which uses as a basis its common code of conduct, uses ex-players and top athletes to go into the dressing rooms and make the players aware of the dangers of corruption in sport, what it looks like, how to deal with it and the consequences of failing to do so.

Walter Palmer, General Secretary of EU Athletes, which runs the player education programme for the EGBA and ESSA and reached out to over 2700 athletes so far, commented: “Our team visits show that there is still a substantial lack of knowledge of local rules on sports betting by players . It is the responsibility of all sports stakeholders to educate players and also to respect the basics principles of good governance. A single code of conduct for players across all sports disciplines would be a step in the right direction but the specificities of countries should be taken into account.”

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA, added: “The prevention of match fixing is of the upmost priority for the licensed European sports betting industry. We are glad to see that sports regulators are following in the footsteps of our initiative with EU Athletes and making the education of players a priority.”

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, stated that: “After the EUA and PPF agreed a single educational code 12 months ago its benefit and reach has been considerable. The code can now be regarded as the template for sporting participants to follow and we were encouraged that SportAccord drew heavily on it when launching its global programme, earlier this year. We hope this marks an important step towards the establishment eventually of a single unified code of education in this area.”

Brendon Batson, MBE Chairman of the 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) said: “The player education programmes in the UK, made possible by funding from the RGA and its members, are already showing real benefits. Player education about sports betting integrity is the first line of defence, particularly against illegal and unregulated betting. Our projects are helping players to play their part in protecting the integrity of British sport in 2012.”

The PPF funded project focussed the majority of resources in 2011/12 on football, cricket and rugby union with more than 3,660 professional and 1,940 academy players receiving face-to-face briefings on sports betting integrity and responsible gambling advice.