An independent RFU Disciplinary Panel has imposed a 22-month suspension on RFU Registered Agent Matt Hart. Maro Itoje, Ben Te'o and Taulupe Faletau are some of the top names represented by Hart, who placed almost 1,500 bets on rugby worldwide and deposited in excess of £660,000 into a betting account.
The Stellar Management group employee was found guilty of two breaches of World Rugby / RFU Regulations.
Hart's first charge involved betting on the outcome and/or any aspect of an event and receiving part or all of the proceeds of such betting (World Rugby Regulation 6.1.1c and RFU regulations 8.3.2 and 17.3.1c). The second charge was for non-cooperation with a request for information from the RFU Anti-Corruption Officer, which was contrary to RFU Regulations 8.3.2. and 17.3.5c.
The Panel, which is independent of the RFU and consisted of Philip Evans QC (Chairman), Tim Ward QC and Gareth Graham. In addition to Hart's 22-month ban, he was also ordered to pay the RFU an administration fee of £500.
Alys Lewis, RFU Anti-Corruption Officer, said: ‘This decision unequivocally demonstrates that any activity which undermines the integrity of our sport and exposes players and rugby to potential integrity issues, will be treated seriously by the RFU. The sums of money involved and the frequency and duration of the betting, coupled with the lack of cooperation with the RFU’s investigation, have all contributed to a substantial suspension from rugby union which is welcomed by the RFU’.
The suspension will end on the 11th of February 2020 and will take immediate effect.