The Ramblings Of An Egg Chaser

Welcome to my blog on all things rugby related, my views are my own except where the voices in my head tell me otherwise.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bringing The Game Into Disrepute

Matt Stevens (Photo From ESPN Scrum)
Rugby has always prided itself on it's values.  In fact in 2010 the RFU commissioned the Core Values project to define the games value system in formal terms.  The IRB also highlights the values of the game on its website. Actions that go against these core values, in the main, seem to be taken very seriously.  "Bloodgate" saw rugby legend Dean Richards banned from the game for three years and testing positive for cocaine saw Matt Stevens banned for a slightly shorter two years.  The IRB specifically refers to cocaine in the anti doping handbook on page 23 stating the sanction,as given to Stevens, is a two year ban.

HSBC Lions Shirt

So how is the IRB going to deal with one of it's main sponsors, HSBC, who are being fined $1.9 billion in the USA for laundering drug cartel money from Mexico?  How can the values of a game like Rugby Union align with a company that profits from the sale of cocaine particularly when those profits are being injected into the game (no pun intended) as sponsorship funding.  How can you ban a player for two years on one hand and then accept money that comes from the people who sell the drug they took?  In my head the conversation would go a little like this: "Look Matt you're banned from rugby for two years but thanks to the money you and your mates spunked on coke we can expand the world series!"  For those not aware HSBC are the main sponsors of the IRB Sevens World Series.  Sevens has recently been included in the Olympics for 2016 and I'm fairly certain the IOC take a fairly dim view of drug taking.  Even more high profile HSBC are also the sponsors for the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and again I'm not sure the values of the Lions are akin to a money launderer.

So what should the IRB do?  In my opinion they just need to read their own core values.  If this was a player or coach then they would immediately take action to protect the integrity of the sport.  Rugby quite rightly sets its stall out as having a moral core compared to certain other sports.  It needs to treat this sponsor in the same way it would treat anyone else bringing the game into disrepute and lets be honest the PR value for a new sponsor stepping in to replace HSBC would make it even more attractive to companies and potentially more lucrative for the sport itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment