The governing body for the sport of rugby union in England has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will see it begin utilizing a monitoring and alert system developed by international anti-corruption group ESSA Sports Betting Integrity.

The Rugby Football Union explained that the advance will help it to flag potential match-fixing incidents spotted by members of Brussels-based ESSA Sports Betting Integrity, which include some of the world’s largest bookmakers such as Bet365, Ladbrokes Coral Group and William Hill.

Angus Bujalski, Legal and Governance Director for the Rugby Football Union, stated that his organization is intent on remaining ‘vigilant’ to the threats posed by match-fixing despite never having identified such an incident in English rugby union.

“We have already put in place a range of measures to raise awareness and to set clear rules to maintain the integrity of the game,” read a Thursday statement (pdf) from Bujalski. “This memorandum of understanding is another important milestone in that process and complements our existing work. English rugby has so far been free of betting-related match-fixing and we are working hard with our partners such as ESSA [Sports Betting Integrity] to ensure that it remains that way.”

For his part, Khalid Ali, Secretary General for non-profit ESSA Sports Betting Integrity, welcomed ‘the continuing proactive approach’ of the Rugby Football Union before declaring that his group is ‘committed to working in partnership’ with others to stamp out match-fixing.

“No one can or should be complacent in the face of criminal elements intent on corrupting any sport to defraud betting companies,” read a statement from Ali.

ESSA Sports Betting Integrity moreover proclaimed that the third quarter of 2017 had seen it refer some 72 suspicious betting cases to the relevant sporting authorities with approximately 64% of these concerning tennis. In addition, football and table tennis each accounted for around 11% of the total followed by basketball at 5% and two cases each for badminton, volleyball and snooker.