The Rugby Players Association (RPA), Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby have announced a collaboration with Epic Risk Management to produce an educational gambling awareness programme.
Epic has stated that it will use first-hand experience to educate players on the risks of problem gambling and gaming, while illustrating when and how to get help. The programme will also include crucial anti-corruption education.
Richard Bryan, RPA Player Welfare Director, commented: “In 2017, EPIC helped us to deliver the first gambling awareness education programme for elite athletes in the UK. To be able to build on that relationship and deliver a multi-year, in-depth programme for more players with EPIC, the RFU and PRL is a significant step.
“Research suggests that professional athletes are more likely to be problem gamblers than those in the general population and the effects can be devastating. As such, it is crucial for us to ensure that players understand the risks associated with problem gambling, as well as the support available to them.”
The programme delivery includes year one and three – Premiership Clubs; Championship clubs; Red Roses squad; England Sevens men and women squads. Year two and four – Regional Academy 16–18-year-old player populations; all Women’s Premier 15s clubs; all Women’s Premier 15s 16-18-year-old player populations.
Alys Lewis, Chair of the PGB Personal Development Sub-Committee and RFU Head of Legal and Regulation, added: “The Professional Game Education Strategy is essential to the game and welfare of our participants and the delivery by EPIC of gambling awareness education is central to the delivery of our strategy.
“We look forward to working with EPIC, along with the RPA, PRL, the Championship Clubs and the Allianz Premiership Clubs to deliver this essential education to the players and staff structure which supports them.
Furthermore, the organisation also delivers awareness sessions and risk management work to a wider range of industries, such as the military and the prison service to the financial sector.
The new announcement follows on from the programme that was established in 2017 by the RPA, which was the first gambling awareness education of its kind for professional sportsmen and women in the UK.
On its most recent push for awareness of gambling harms in sports, EPIC’s Director of Sports Partnerships, John Millington, concluded that the group is “thrilled” to continue its work within rugby.