Competing players at next summer's rugby World Cup in England may be banned from using their mobile phones as concern grows over claims of match-fixing and corruption.
Within a number of measures the International Rugby Board plan to take in preventing any such activity damaging their showpiece competition, the use of mobile phones, including texting, by players and match officials may not be permitted come next September.
The Telegraph have revealed that the proposals, along with the expected introduction of a monitoring system of betting patterns during the World Cup, were all raised at a recent IRB regulations committee.
Talking to the paper Alan Gilpin, the head of the Rugby World Cup, explained that they intend on finding the right balance between taking the right steps to protect the integrity of the tournament and the sport but not doing anything that is over-draconian.
“The use of mobile phones is under consideration. It is good to put those markers down to let everyone involved at the game know that we are looking at those issues so that we are taking preventative measures rather than waking up one day during the World Cup wondering what happened
“If you look at mobile telephones as part of that prevention - to what extent to do you have to take the right steps.”
‘A wider point of view’
The IRB also plan to take heed of good practice within other sports such as Cricket and the NRL.
“We want to make sure we are ahead of the curve,” Gilpin added. “We know that in other sports there are protocols and procedures in place that try to take preventative measures, such as NRL or cricket.
“We will weigh it up with the Rugby World Cup board and with the executive committee and see if any of those things are appropriate. Whatever we do there will be appropriate measures, not measures that cause players challenges when there shouldn’t be challenges for them.
“We are looking at it from a wider sport point of view, we are pleased that there is no indication that it is a problem in rugby.
“But being responsible about Rugby World Cup in particular and the game more generally, should be be putting other measures in place that other sports are to try to combat the perceptional risk of that happening.”