The New Zealand Rugby Union will set up a dedicated integrity unit to combat corruption and doping in the sport, a senior official has said.

Neil Sorenson, NZRU general manager of professional rugby, said the governing body aimed to have the unit set up in six months, it has been reported.

"We've been thinking about integrity now for over a year," he told the agency. "We need to be really alert and keep educating ourselves about this stuff."

A New Zealand government report last November found there was little high-level corruption in sport in the country, but Lavinia Gould, a former member of the national women's sevens squad, was suspended for two years last November after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

Gould was the first player contracted to the NZRU to receive a doping ban.

At the time the NZRU said more than 1700 tests had been conducted in the previous five years with just two 'minor' violations.

Emphasis on education

The NZRU unit is expected to devote 90 percent of its resources to education and 10 percent to auditing, the report said.

The NZRU decision follows on from a New Zealand government initiative to provide a more co-ordinated effort to combat doping and corruption in sport.

It said last year it would increase resources to allow government agencies, including Customs, the police, Serious Fraud Office and sporting organisations like Sports New Zealand (SNZ) and Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) to actively share information and meet twice a year to discuss any issues that arise.

Previously, law enforcement agencies, individual sports organisations and DFSNZ had taken responsibility for the implementation of anti-corruption and doping policy.

A national match-fixing policy would also be introduced this year and would include the sport sector and betting industry.

Source: Reuters