Former Wales coach Rob Howley apologized for violating betting regulations at a time when he was “fighting demons” after his sister’s death. On Monday, the 49-year-old was banned from rugby for 18 months with a 9-year suspended sentence for placing bets on more than 1000 games over 4 years.
Howley said in a statement on Tuesday: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone close to me and everyone who has been affected by this, especially the rugby community, close colleagues and most of all to my family. “
An independent disciplinary board of the Wales rugby association found Howley had placed 363 bets that included 1163 games over 4 years, including some in Wales that included the first try marker. The death of Howley’s sister Karen in 2011 was identified as the trigger for her betting activity by the disciplinary committee.
“I am an extremely private person and unfortunately that is what kept me quiet while I fought my demons after my sister’s tragic death,” said Howley. the right way back to rugby, which has always been my true passion. “I am immensely grateful for the faith and support I have received from everyone close to me.”
There is no indication of dishonesty ’
The former scrum half of Wales and the British and Irish Lions Howley also highlighted some of the committee’s findings, quoting them as saying: “Mr. Howley acknowledged his breach of the regulation at the first possible opportunity, demonstrated a deep sense of guilt and remorse, [e] an exemplary disciplinary record (either as a player or coach) is exemplary.
“There are no indications of dishonesty or use of confidential information involved.”
The committee also referred to “the fact that Mr. Howley sought help from a psychologist who identified that the trigger for this recreational betting situation had been a family tragedy and that he had refrained from betting since his suspension” . Howley – who reportedly lost £ 4,000 in his gambling activity – was sent home from Japan 6 days before Wales’ victory against Georgia in the opening game of the World Cup and was replaced by Stephen Jones.
His suspension has been retroactive since his withdrawal from that World Cup campaign on 16 September 2019, and he may be involved in sport again in June 2020.
‘Rob will recover’
Wales back-row Justin Tipuric, who said he had no suspicion that Howley was betting on the games and believes the coach will return to rugby as soon as his punishment ends.
“It’s hard to talk about Rob, we spent nine years together with him training me,” the Ospreys flanker told BBC Sport Wales.
“He’s a good person, but at the end of the day, those rules exist for a reason and, knowing Rob, he’ll accept that and recover.
“The WRU thought it over, they tried to be as strict as possible. “It’s more like thinking about his family. He cares a lot about his family and, knowing him, he is probably martyring himself a lot because of this.
“Everyone makes mistakes in life and has to recover from those mistakes. “He’ll find a job somewhere and make sure he does a good job when he gets back.”