Former welsh coach Rob Howley has been suspended for 18 months for being involved in betting activities which violated the gambling regulations set out for team members.
Former Rugby coach was suspended on December 16. Earlier he was sent back while the Welsh team was still to play its remaining games in the recently concluded Rugby World cup.
Upon investigation, Howley was found to have bet on over 1,000 matches during the past four years.
Howley has apologized for breaching the laws and in a statement the former coach said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all those close to me and everyone this has affected, especially the rugby community, close colleagues and above all my family.”
The ban followed the restrictions imposed by the independent disciplinary panel appointed by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). Howley admitted to have violated the World Rugby Anti-corruption and Betting Regulations.
However nine months of Howley’s ban has been suspended, which means he would be out effectively for only nine months.
The former coach was found to have placed bets from his account on Rugby Union games with operators like Betway, Ladbrokes and William Hill. He was alleged to have place 365 bets from November 2015 through September 2019.
Howley confessed to having compulsive gambling issues.
“I am an extremely private man, and unfortunately, it was this that kept me silent as I battled my demons following my sister’s tragic death. The last few months have been immensely tough, and continued help will allow me to find the right path back to rugby which has always been my true passion. I am immensely grateful for the faith and support I’ve received from everybody close to me,” he said.
“I feel it is important for me to reiterate a number of the key facts that were highlighted and proven during the investigation: ‘Mr. Howley acknowledged his breach of the regulation at the first available opportunity, that he has demonstrated deep-felt and genuine remorse, that he has an exemplary character and an exemplary disciplinary record (both as a player and coach).”
The authorities ruled out the possibility of any leak of information or compromise on the part of the coach. Howley can be back at job from June 2020.