Make match-fixing a criminal offence – ICC to governments

4:19 AM ETESPNcricinfo staffFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint

The ICC is in the process of persuading governments in cricket-playing countries to make match-fixing a criminal offence, as it renews its resolve in the fight against corruption in the game.

“The ACSU (ICC’s anti-corruption unit) is trying to be much more proactive in first of all disrupting these criminals who are travelling the world trying to corrupt the game,” David Richardson, the ICC’s chief executive, said at a promotional event in New Delhi on Wednesday. “We are persuading governments to introduce legislation that can make attempts to fix cricket matches a criminal offence and put these people behind bars.”

The move comes amid a renewed focus on a problem that refuses to go away. Recent spotlight has centered on Sri Lanka, where former fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa was charged with three counts of breaching the anti-corruption code, just two weeks after Sanath Jayasuriya had been charged with refusal to cooperate with the anti-corruption unit. The growing number of T20 leagues around the world has also opened up a new avenue through which players can be – and have been – approached by those trying to corrupt a game.

“We are also getting much better intelligence on who these people are and we have been able to do that only because more players are reporting the approaches to us,” Richardson said. “The education programmes we have put in place have worked really well, we have hardened the target at the international level to the extent that these unscrupulous elements are trying to approach players at a much lower level.

“Of course it bothers ICC when names like Jayasuriya crop up, but he has only been accused of failing to co-operate. Let’s not jump the gun with that investigation.”

Richardson said the ICC was also making efforts to get the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and the BCCI on the same page.

The BCCI has been opposed to Indian cricketers coming under anti-doping regulations for the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) in the past. In November 2017, BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri had said, “It is clear that BCCI already has a robust dope-testing mechanism which is employed for both during competitions and out-of-competitions. It is also relevant to mention here that BCCI is not a National Sports Federation. Accordingly, NADA does not have jurisdiction to conduct dope testing of Indian cricketers in any domestic competition or international event organised by or under the aegis of BCCI.”

Richardson, however, said that there was “a willingness” by BCCI to resolve the matter.

“ICC is trying to facilitate a dialogue between WADA and the BCCI,” Richardson said. “There is a willingness on the part of BCCI to resolve the situation with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). I think that can be resolved quite quickly. BCCI is not reluctant to do dope testing, but they are not ready to send samples to NADA.”