Section E16: Code of Conduct: Betting and Related Activity
1.1 Every person who is subject to the Operational Rules is subject to this Code of Conduct on Betting and Related Activity (the “Betting Code”) at all times and shall be deemed to have accepted this Code and agreed to be bound by and to comply with its provisions and to abide by all decisions made under the Code.
1.2 The Betting Code was adopted and came into force on 6 February 2008, and shall apply to all activities taking place after that date. The RFL may from time to time supplement, amend or vary this Code. Such changes shall be deemed to be effective and binding on each Person on the date of publication of the changes by the RFL.
1.3 Interpretation and application:
1.3.1 For the purpose of this Betting Code, a person acts “for reward” if he arranges or agrees that he or someone else will receive any financial or other benefit for such act, directly or indirectly, and “reward” shall be construed accordingly.
1.3.2 Event means any matter on which a bet may be placed including but not limited to promotion, relegation, man of the match and scoring milestones. Match and Competition have the meaning set out in the definitions section of these Operational Rules.
2.1 This Betting Code shall be interpreted and applied in the light of the following fundamental sporting imperatives:
2.1.1 Sport is unique because it is a contest on a level playing-field, the outcome of which is to be determined solely by the respective merits of the sporting competitors on the day of the contest, and therefore cannot be predicted but remains uncertain until the contest is completed.
2.1.2 Public confidence in the authenticity and integrity of that contest is vital. If that confidence is undermined, then the very essence of sport, the unique characteristics that deliver its unique appeal, is shaken to the core. It is the determination to protect that essence of sport that has led the RFL to adopt this Betting Code.
2.1.3 Advancing technology and increasing popularity have led to a substantial increase in the amount, and the sophistication, of betting on sports events. The development of new betting products, including betting exchanges that allow people to bet on losing outcomes, as well as internet and phone accounts that allow people to place a bet at any time and from any place, even after a sports event has started, have all increased the potential for the development of corrupt betting practices. That, in turn, increases the risk that attempts will be made to involve the Persons in the sport in such practices. Even where that risk is more theoretical than practical, its consequence is to create a perception that the integrity of the sporting spectacle is under threat.
2.1.4 Furthermore, it is of the nature of this type of misconduct that it is carried out under cover and in secret. This creates very significant challenges for a sports governing body seeking to enforce rules of conduct, whose investigative powers are limited. As a consequence, it is necessary to empower the sports governing body to seek and share information with competent authorities and other relevant third parties, and to require Persons subject to the Rules to cooperate fully with all investigations and requests for information.
2.1.5 As evidenced by its signing of the Integrity in Sports Betting 10 Point Plan issued by the Department of Media, Culture & Sport in 2006, the RFL is committed to taking every step in its power to prevent corrupt betting practices undermining the integrity of the game of rugby league, including any efforts to influence improperly the outcome or any other aspect of a Match. This Betting Code has been adopted in order to assist in achieving that objective, and should be interpreted and applied accordingly.
2.2 The conduct prohibited under this Betting Code may also be a criminal offence and/or a breach of other applicable laws or regulations. Reference is made in particular to section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005, which makes it a criminal offence if a person “(a) cheats at gambling, or (b) does anything for the purpose of enabling or assisting another person to cheat at gambling”). This Code is intended to supplement such laws and regulations with further codes of conduct for those involved in the game of rugby league. It is not intended, and may not be interpreted, construed or applied, to prejudice or undermine in any way the application of such laws and regulations. Persons must comply with all applicable laws and regulations at all times.
Misconduct Offences involving Betting or Related Activity
3.3 The following acts or omissions, if committed by or on behalf of a Person, directly or indirectly, shall amount to a breach by such Person of this Betting Code, and therefore shall constitute an offence of Misconduct under Section D1:10 of the RFL Operational Rules (the “RFL Operational Rules”):
184.108.40.206 Placing, accepting, laying or otherwise entering into any wager, bet or other form of financial speculation (a “Bet”) with any individual, company, organisation or other body in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match, Competition or Event.
220.127.116.11 Soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging, facilitating or permitting any other person to enter into a Bet for the Person’s direct or indirect benefit in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match, Competition or Event.
18.104.22.168 Ensuring the occurrence of a particular incident in a Match, Competition or Event, which occurrence is to the Person’s knowledge the subject of a Bet and for which he expects to receive or has received any reward (other than contractual payments or prize money and/or contracted payments under endorsement or sponsorship contracts.
22.214.171.124 Having any commercial arrangement with, or any stake (whether active or passive) in, any company or other undertaking that promotes, brokers, arranges or conducts any form of Betting activity in relation to Matches, Competitions or Events.
126.96.36.199 Contriving, or being a party to any effort to contrive, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match, Competition or Event.
188.8.131.52 Seeking or accepting or agreeing to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or to contrive in any way or otherwise to influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match, Competition or Event.
184.108.40.206 Failing to perform to one’s merits in any Match, Competition or Event, for reward.
220.127.116.11 Soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or facilitating any Person to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this clause 3.1.2.
3.1.3 Misuse of privileged information
18.104.22.168 Using in relation to Betting, or providing to any other person for use in relation to Betting, any information relating to any Match, Competition or Event(s) that the Person has in his possession by virtue of his position within the sport and that is not in the public domain or readily accessible by the public without unreasonable restriction, save in the proper performance of that Person’s duties including but not limited to providing information to the Compliance Manager.
22.214.171.124 Providing information to any person for reward, before or during any Match, Competition or Event, regarding the competitors in the event, the conditions, tactical considerations or any other aspect of the event, unless such information is already in or will come into the public domain without unreasonable delay or is readily accessible by the public without unreasonable restriction. For example, it shall not be a breach of this clause to provide such information as opinion to a journalist for immediate publication as part of an article or column in a newspaper.
126.96.36.199 Soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or facilitating any Person to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this clause 3.1.3.
188.8.131.52 Engaging in any other conduct (ie beyond that specified in clauses 3.1.1 to 3.1.3, above) that is corrupt or fraudulent, or creates an actual or apparent conflict of interest for the Person, or otherwise risks impairing public confidence in the integrity and/or the honest and orderly conduct of any Match, Competition or Event.
184.108.40.206 Providing or receiving any reward that could bring the Person or the game of rugby league into disrepute.
220.127.116.11 Failing to disclose to the RFL Compliance Manager without delay full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Person to engage in conduct that would amount to a breach of this Betting Code.
18.104.22.168 Failing to disclose to the RFL Compliance Manager without delay full details of any approaches or invitations of which the Person is aware that have been received by any other party to engage in conduct that would amount to a breach of this Betting Code.
22.214.171.124 Failing to cooperate with any investigation by the RFL Compliance Manager in relation to possible breaches of this Betting Code, including failure, without reasonable excuse (and subject to the right of objection set out at clause 4.3, below) to provide any information requested by the RFL Compliance Manager that is relevant to such investigation.
3.2 An attempt by a Person, or any agreement by a Person with any other person (whether or not also a Person), to act in breach of any provision of this Betting Code shall be treated for purposes of this Code as if a breach of the relevant provision(s) had been committed, whether or not such attempt or agreement in fact resulted in such breach.
3.3 Each Person shall be held directly and personally responsible for any acts or omissions of the type described in clauses 3.1 and 3.2, above, committed by his coach, trainer, manager, agent, family member or other affiliate or associate of his, provided that the Person had knowledge of, or assisted, encouraged, aided, abetted, Match or up or was otherwise complicit in, such acts or omissions. In that event, the Person shall be treated as having committed such acts or omissions himself and shall be liable accordingly under this Betting Code.
3.4 The following are not relevant to the determination of a Misconduct Offence under clause 3.1 of this Code (although they may be relevant to the issue of the sanction to be imposed under clause 126.96.36.199 (below) in the event that it is determined that an offence has been committed):
3.4.1 Whether or not the Person was participating in the specific Match, Competition or Event in question.
3.4.2 The nature or outcome of any Bet in issue.
3.4.3 The outcome of the Match, Competition or Event(s) on which such Bet was made.
3.4.4 Whether or not the Person’s efforts or performance (if any)in the Match, Competition or Event(s) in issue were (or could be expected to be) affected by the acts or omissions in question.
3.4.5 Whether or not any of the results in the Match, Competition or Event(s) in issue were (or could be expected to be) affected by the act or omissions in question.
3.5 It shall be a valid defence to a charge of breach of this Betting Code to prove that the alleged breach was committed due to the Person’s honest and reasonable belief that there was a serious threat to the life or safety of himself or any member of his family.
4.1 A Person shall immediately report to the RFL Compliance Manager any incident, facts or matters (including, without limitation, unsolicited approaches by third parties) that may evidence a breach or attempted breach of, or inducement to breach, this Betting Code. Any failure to make such report may amount to a Misconduct Offence under clause 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206, above.
4.2 Any allegation or suspicion of a breach of this Betting Code, whatever the source, shall be referred to the RFL Compliance Manager for investigation and possible charge in accordance with clauses 3.1 to 3.3 of the RFL Operational Rules, as supplemented by this clause 4; provided that no action may be commenced for alleged breach of this Betting Code more than eight (8) years after the date that the breach allegedly occurred. Such investigation, and any consequent charge, will be governed by, and pursued in accordance with, the provisions of the RFL Operational Rules, as supplemented by this clause 4. The relevant provisions of the RFL Operational Rules include, without limitation:
4.2.1 the obligation on all Persons, under clause 3.2 of the RFL Operational Rules, to cooperate with any investigation conducted by the Compliance Manager, with any failure to cooperate itself potentially constituting a separate and independent Misconduct Offence, whether under clause 3.2 of the RFL Operational Rules and/or under clause 220.127.116.11, above;
4.2.2 the right of the RFL Compliance Manager, under clause 3b of the RFL Operational Rules, to seek an interim suspension of the Person charged from any participation in the sport pending adjudication of the charge;
4.2.3 the provisions of Section D1 of the RFL Operational Rules in relation to the sanctions that may be imposed on a Person by a Disciplinary Committee in the event a charge is upheld, provided that:
18.104.22.168 in the event that a charge of breach of this Betting Code is upheld, the recommended maximum fine shall be the greater of (i) £10,000; and (ii) the amount of any profits, winnings or other reward received by the Person, directly or indirectly, as a result of such breach; and
22.214.171.124 in determining whether to impose a period of suspension from participation in one or more Match, Competition or Events or impose a period suspension from the Game of the RFL for a specified period, the Operational Rules Tribunal shall take into account all of the relevant circumstances, including (in the case of a charge under clause 3.1.1, above) treating it as an aggravating factor if the Person personally participated in the Match, Competition or Event in question.
4.3 Demand for information:
4.3.1 If the RFL Compliance Manager reasonably believes that a Person (or a third party whose actions may be imputed to the Person for this purpose) may have committed a breach of this Betting Code, the Compliance Manager may make a written demand to the Person (a “Demand”) to furnish to the Compliance Manager any information that is reasonably related to the alleged breach, including (without limitation) (a) copies of or access to all records relating to the alleged breach (such as telephone records, Internet service records, bank and other financial records under the terms set out in clause D1:17 above and other records stored on computer hard drives and other information storage equipment); and/or (b) a written statement made by the Person, setting out in detail all of the facts and circumstances with respect to the alleged breach.
4.3.2 Subject only to the right to object to the Demand set out at clause 3.3.3, below, the Person shall furnish the information requested in the Demand within seven days of his receipt of the Demand, or by such other deadline as may be specified in the Demand.
4.3.3 If the Person wishes to object to the Demand, he must file a formal objection with the Compliance Manager by the specified response deadline, which objection must set out with specificity the nature and scope of and grounds for the objection. Failure without good reason to make such filing shall constitute an irrevocable waiver of any objection.
4.3.4 Any objection duly filed in accordance with clause 4.3.3, above, will be referred by the Compliance Manager, together with any comments that the Compliance Manager may wish to make with respect to the objection, to the Chairman of the Operational Rules Tribunal, who may resolve the objection himself or else may designate another person to resolve the objection. The Chairman or his designee may in his absolute discretion invite further submissions or hold a hearing prior to making his determination, or may simply determine the matter on the basis of the objection itself and the comments of the Compliance Manager, if any, with respect to that objection. If (and to the extent that) the Chairman or his designee determines that the Demand is fair and reasonably tailored to obtain evidence relevant to the alleged breach, and that it is consistent with applicable law, the Chairman or his designee shall direct the Person to produce all (or, if he believes the objection should be sustained to some degree, the remaining part) of the information specified in the Demand.
4.3.5 Subject to any ruling made by the Chairman of the Operational Rules Tribunal or his designee pursuant to clause 4.3.4, above, any failure by the Person to produce the information specified in the Demand shall have each of the following consequences, without prejudice to one another:
E126.96.36.199.1 during any period in which the Person fails to produce such information, he shall be deemed ineligible to participate in and/or denied credentials for and access to Match, Competition or Events;
188.8.131.52 the Operational Rules Tribunal shall be entitled to draw such adverse inference against the Person as the Tribunal shall reasonably determine; and
184.108.40.206 such failure may be treated as a stand-alone offence under clause 220.127.116.11, above.
4.4 A Operational Rules Tribunal convened to consider a charge of breach of this Betting Code may request, at any time prior to issuing a final decision, and having first given the parties an opportunity to make any submissions on the matter, that an additional investigation be conducted into any matter reasonably related to the alleged breach. The Compliance Manager will conduct that investigation in accordance with the Chairman’s request and the Person charged and all other Persons must cooperate with that investigation, in accordance with clause 4.2.1, above.
4.5 Where a Person is charged with breach of this Betting Code, and other relevant authorities are also conducting investigations or proceedings into the same or related matters, the Operational Rules Tribunal shall have discretion, where it is established to its satisfaction that clear prejudice would otherwise result, to stay the proceedings under this Code pending the outcome of the investigations or proceedings being conducted by the other relevant authorities.
Cooperation with Other Competent Authorities and Third Parties
5.1 Where possible breaches of this Betting Code may also amount to or evidence infringements of other applicable laws or regulations, the RFL may conduct investigations in respect of such breaches in conjunction with, and/or may share information relating thereto with, the competent authorities, such as the police, HM Revenue & Customs, the Serious Fraud Office, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and/or the Gambling Commission, whether pursuant to formal information-sharing information agreements with such authorities or otherwise.
5.2 As part of any investigation into possible breaches of this Betting Code, the RFL may seek relevant information from other competent authorities and/or from any third party, including bookmakers and other Betting operators, whether pursuant to formal information-sharing agreements with such authorities or third parties, or otherwise. In accordance with clause 5.3, below, acceptance of this Betting Code shall constitute agreement by a Person to the disclosure of such information by the authority and/or third party to the RFL. Where necessary, the Person shall confirm such consent in writing to or for the benefit of the authority and/or third party. A failure to do so without reasonable excuse shall amount to a breach of this Betting Code, in accordance with clause 18.104.22.168, above.
5.3 Each Person specifically consents, pursuant to the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant laws, as applicable, to the sharing of information relating to activities Match or by this Betting Code, including personal information relating to himself and his activities, both by the RFL with the competent authorities and relevant third parties, and by the competent authorities and/or any relevant third parties (including without limitation any bookmaker or other Betting operator) with the RFL.
Responsibility for Betting Integrity Issues
6.1 The RFL shall designate one or more persons (the “Compliance Manager”)to bear special responsibility for betting issues arising in relation to Match, Competition or Events.
6.2 The responsibilities of the Compliance Manager shall include monitoring betting and related activity as it impacts upon the integrity of Match, Competition or Events, and making recommendations to the RFL as to any action that may be necessary or appropriate to take to address the risks arising from that activity, including considering the practical implementation of this Code and any necessary or appropriate amendments thereto.