Match-fixing has got to become a criminal offence, says Rahul Dravid

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Dravid wants to see a more hardline stance taken on match-fixing

Former India batting great Rahul Dravid has announced that the only way to clean up the image of the sport is to make match-fixing a criminal offence so that players are deterred from getting involved in the illegal trade.

Dravid also noted that players must be educated about the dangers of match-fixing from a younger age.

“My personal belief is that education and counselling at a junior level is really important,” Dravid said in an exclusive interview with ESPNcricinfo. “I think we’ve got to start early, we’ve got to start young but … that part of it is already being done. I know that India has its own ACSU and even for Ranji Trophy teams this education is given.”

Dravid added that stricter laws and harsher punishments must be imposed on anyone caught match-fixing in the future.

“I don’t think only education can work, policing it and having the right laws and ensuring that people when they indulge in this kind of activities are actually punished,” he said. “People must see that there are consequences to your actions. That will create fear for people.”

The 40-year-old upheld cycling as an example where many of the top performers have confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs and noted that this was the reason why awareness programs are not enough to educate players.

“Everyone knows it’s wrong, and it’s frightening, having read a little bit about it and the number of cyclists who were doing it,” he said. “Surely all know it’s wrong.

“So the only people those cyclists were scared of was not the testers, not the authority, they were scared of the police. You read all the articles, the only guys they were scared of was the police and going to jail. So the only way that people are going to get that fear is if they know the consequences to these actions and the law that will come into play. It’s got to be a criminal offence.”

When asked about whether he thinks his three Rajasthan Royals team-mates – Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila – are guilty of match-fixing, Dravid said: “The case is still on and I don’t want to make any judgement on whether people are guilty or not and I think everyone has a right to be innocent until he’s proven guilty and I’m glad the police is going ahead and doing what needs to be done and taking it to its logical conclusion.”

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