Image courtesy of: The Guardian
“I can’t think of anything other than corruption that can bring this game down”
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has announced that he believes “the most important issue for cricket administration is corruption” in the game and finding a way to completely get rid of it.
Chappell also noted that the sport has been “a runaway train with no one at the lead”, especially in the area of scheduling, where he feels that there is no balance between the three formats.
He was also highly critical of the major cricket boards around the world since they have been reluctant to stand up to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“What has bothered me particularly in recent times has been this seeming obsession with the bottom line,” Chappell said at the ESPNcricinfo at 20 event in Brisbane. “Most cricket administration decisions seem to be made purely with the bottom line in mind. I would like cricket administrators to get back to where priority number one, and easily priority number one, is the best interests of the game.
“I think now the most important issue for cricket administration is corruption. I can’t think of anything other than corruption that can bring this game down. Players have got to become whistle-blowers, and they’ve got to be educated how important this is. You cannot tell me that if you’re in a dressing room and there’s some funny stuff going on, surely to Christ you’re going to know.
“I think if you look at the history of people who have been pinged with corruption charges, not much of it has come from cricket. Not much of it has come from the anti-corruption unit. Most of it has come from television stings, newspaper stings.”
Chappell also called on the administrators to impose the harshest penalties on those who are found guilty of match-fixing and he even echoed legendary India batsman Rahul Dravid’s comments about making corruption a criminal offence.
“I think if cricket is going to rely on prosecuting these guys in court, you’re going to catch about one every hundred years,” Chappell said. “It’s damn near impossible.
“Cricket has to have a cricket punishment, which is obviously leaving guys out of the team if they think they’re dodgy, and I know that can be fraught with danger, but this is not a Marquess of Queensberry game. They’re not going to play by the rules, and I don’t think cricket can afford to.
“If you look at what cricket has done, the only convictions cricket has got seem to me to be very, very soft targets. I don’t think that all the people, all the players, mixed up in this are all soft targets.”
In order to fix the problem of corruption in the sport, Chappell stated that the administrators need to stop thinking solely about their revenues and profits and actually take some action instead of just talking tough.
“The game needs strong leadership, both on and off the field,” he said. “It’s quite fashionable in recent times to blame India for arrogance in their administration, and I would have to say that I agree with those feelings. But equally, I feel that the rest of the countries, particularly the major nations, are equally to blame, because none of them have stood up to India, and if you’re not going to stand up to India, then I don’t think you can criticise India for the way they are administering the game.
“I think what the game needs is some strong and impartial leadership, and at the moment I think what it’s getting is weak and self-interested leadership. Is it a game or is it a business? It needs a happy balance. It needs to take the middle ground somewhere.”