Stricter measures at odds with TAB presence

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 11:10 05/05/2014

Riddle me this.

The government have announced plans for far stricter measures to deal with match fixing in sport in this country, in case they are ever able to prove a case.

Anyone caught trying to 'fix' a game could face jail time under a recommendation from Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the NZRU would like to be seen as getting tough on match fixing, introducing an integrity unit in line with the IRB's Regulation 6.

Under those rules, ''all persons involved in the game at [international and contracted player] levels are required to comply with the IRB and New Zealand regulations. In the case of New Zealand, regulations also apply at Heartland Championship level on the basis that prohibited wagering only applies to betting on Pink Batts Heartland Championship matches.''

All of which seems fine, because we can all agree that match fixing is one of the greatest scourges facing world sport, along with performance enhancing drugs and the overuse of public relations firms.

So why, in this era of enlightenment, do we have the game and its broadcaster allowing the wanton hawking of betting product before big matches?

Is this not just another crazy double standard?

The game and the broadcaster are happy to take the TAB's money when it suits them, while clucking away at the evils which are borne from the unholy union between betting and professional sport.

The rugby pitch in a big stadium is sanctum sanctorum before a game.

Even those with accreditation are generally cordoned off from getting within any distance of the place where the action is taken.

Considering other sports have had to go as far as banning cell phones from dressing rooms because of the presence of match and spot fixing, does it not seem bizarre to have a TAB representative wandering around the pitch like they own the place before big matches?

- The Southland Times

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