ESSA, the integrity body for the regulated sports betting industry, has signed an integrity agreement with England Hockey, the national governing body for hockey in England.

The agreement was signed just prior to the Unibet EuroHockey Championships which kicks off later today at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

The Championships are a major biennial international televised event involving the top eight European national men’s and women’s teams, and runs until August 30th.

The deal will see the two bodies work closely on integrity issues with a view to protecting hockey events, bookmakers and consumers from any corrupt activity linked to betting.

ESSA will also be working with England Hockey to educate the players and officials on the issues around betting and ensure that integrity remains the priority.

Commenting on the new arrangement, ESSA secretary seneral Khalid Ali praised the sport for taking a proactive, partnership approach with the betting industry.

“This is a positive and forward thinking move by England Hockey and we welcome the opportunity to expand our integrity network to include hockey,” he said. “Whilst we have not seen any suspicious betting activity to concern fans of the sport, it is nevertheless important that suitable measures are put in place to deter corrupters.”

Sally Munday, chief executive of England Hockey, added: “The risk to the Unibet EuroHockey Championships and to hockey in general is low, but it is nevertheless important that we have suitable preventative measures in place.

“This arrangement provides us with access to essential data from ESSA’s responsible regulated betting operators to identify and punish any corrupt activity. It sends a very clear and forceful message.”

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