Richardson believes corruption in the sport will continue unless tough measures are taken to stop it
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Dave Richardson has announced that all the major cricketing boards in the sport must stand up and fight the ongoing “war” against corruption.
Richardson’s comments come after India TV launched a sting operation, which showed six umpires willing to make favourable decisions for a certain amount of money.
Anis Siddiqui and Nadeem Ghauri from Pakistan, Nadir Shah from Bangladesh and Sagara Gallage, Maurice Winston Zilwa and Gamini Dissanayake from Sri Lanka were the umpires indicted in the sting operation, and all six of them have been suspended upon further investigations by their respective cricket boards.
Shah was the only umpire who met face to face with India TV’s undercover reporter, while the other five had interaction with the reporter via Skype.
Richardson believes this shows that everyone in the sport has a price and added that something must be done to counteract these incidents from happening again in the future.
According to Richardson, bookies are now targeting domestic Twenty20 tournaments since the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) has educated international players about their plans.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Richardson said: “It is everybody now unfortunately: everybody is susceptible, the curators, the groundsmen, at international level, whether it is a bilateral series or whether it is an ICC event, the attention to that aspect of the world game is at the same level every time we walk out onto the field so to speak. So it won’t be any less, it won’t be any more than normal. But the bottom line is, it is a bit of a war we are fighting and our anti-corruption unit has their work cut out to make sure the players are kept away from temptation and that we end up with a corruption-free event.”
Even though the ICC cannot arrest anyone on the charge of corruption, the ACSU does have the power to hand police officers the evidence needed, which would prove whether someone is guilty or not.
“The plan of attack is obviously we have got an anti-corruption unit whose resources have been increased in recent times, so they have got more personnel working there, they have got more money allocated to do their job, their databases have been upgraded. What has happened is because the international players are well educated now and know the risks, displacement has occurred and the bookies are now targeting domestic leagues. So to counter that we made sure that every full-member country has its own anti-corruption unit in place and its own anti-corruption code so that what we are doing at the international level can be mirrored at the domestic level. And in doing so we have increased the total resources available (to fight corruption),” Richardson said.
In the past, many people have called on the ICC to run undercover operations of their own, but Richardson stated that the ACSU were good at what they did and that the ICC would continue letting them do it.
“The strategy of the anti-corruption unit has been prevention, and this is borne out of the fact that they are not a police force. They have quite restricted investigatory powers themselves. So if that is the case, then the focus has been to try and prevent. In other words, let us gather intelligence, let us know who the crooked bookmakers are, let us keep them away from players, when they come near the players, let us warn the players from stay away. And only if they ignore the warnings then try and nail them (players). In a way, the criticism has been ‘how come you have never caught anybody?’ But actually it is bit like a good lawyer; he keeps you out of the court. He does not wait for you to get to the court and then catches you. Obviously in some case the ACSU have not prevented everything and sting operations have exposed things,” Richardson added.