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Australia considers match-fixing laws

Daniel Brettig

June 6, 2011

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Malcolm Speed announces the ICC's decision on Steve Bucknor, Melbourne, January 8, 2008
The former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed is leading a push to make match fixing punishable by Australian law. © Getty Images
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Match-fixing in any sport in Australia will be made an offence, perhaps punishable by a 10-year jail term, under proposed legislation to be considered by the federal and state governments this week.

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), of which the former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed is executive director, will present a working party paper on corruption to the federal minister for sport, senator Mark Arbib, on Wednesday.

State government sports ministers will then meet with Arbib on Friday with a view towards introducing uniform regulations across each state to govern the integrity of sport.

Penalties would be a matter for each state, but Arbib has already suggested the possibility of 10 years in jail as an appropriate punishment.

Other measures will include the outlawing of information being passed on from sportsmen or support staff that could be used to make bets, the equivalent of insider trading. It was exchanges of this kind that saw Mark Waugh and Shane Warne under the spotlight in 1998.

Also likely to be brought under tighter control is the range of exotic or spot bets that can be placed on various elements of a match - such as the bowling of no-balls, the order of bowlers or the number of runs to be scored off an over. This would render meaningless to the betting market any questionable acts by complicit players, like the deliberate no-balls bowled by Mohammad Amir at Lord's last year.

World cricket is watching the progress of possible legislation in Australia, as other countries will be more likely to consider similar measures once a precedent has been set.

Cricket's long and pained history of match-fixing, and the involvement of bookmakers and their go-betweens, has meant that Australia's administrators are playing a lead role in the push for government intervention in the issue. James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, is chairman of COMPPS, while CA's chief legal counsel Dean Kino has been instrumental in the drafting of the proposal.

"There's a meeting on Wednesday of sporting CEOs in Melbourne, they have a regular CEOs meeting, but at this meeting the working party paper on corruption in sport will be tabled," a CA spokesman said. "The federal minister for sport Mark Arbib will also be present.

"There's been quite a lot of discussion between James Sutherland and Mark Arbib and the other CEOs, and a meeting will follow on Friday between government ministers."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by lanka_86 on (June 7, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

Countries should also start enforcing defamation laws against those who make false allegations, eg. the recent comments by an opposition politician / former captain.

Posted by redneck on (June 6, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

@Umair111 you are 100% wrong mate! to stop match fixing the exact opposite should be done in india and pakistan. make gambling legal, in the same way the tab opperates in australia. make it regualated so the money being bet in india and pak doesnt go underground to seedy charcters who make aproaches to players to throw matches. you say you have to go to the root of the cause, in cricket i very much doubt that has anything to do with the australian betting market. infact you will find its all to do with illegal gambling in the sub continent!

Posted by donda on (June 6, 2011, 18:01 GMT)

Good step by australia moving forward. I like the idea.

But law should also make sure that the lives of players are safe and law protects those players who get threats from mafia.

Mafia is so powerful and threats will always come to players, its the duty of law and enforcement to protect players from becoming victim of pressure.

Posted by nlambda on (June 6, 2011, 15:45 GMT)

Guess the 2013 series with Pak is off then? :-)

Posted by   on (June 6, 2011, 14:37 GMT)

"WE WILL CONSIDER LAWS TO MAKE MORE LAWS TO MAKE DECISIONS WHERE WE WISH TO APPLY" THIS IS THE ADAGE OF SPORTS if in THIS INSTANCE CRICKET FOR ALL ESPOUSED VAULES OF CRICKET AUSTRALIA WHEN TODAY FIRST DEGREE MURDERS GO AWAY SMILING - HOW FAR THE INTENDED LAWS WILL HOLD IN A GAME WHICH IS FUNDAMENTALLY SUBJECT TO PROFITEERING TODAY IS WISHFUL THINKING - BUT YOU CAN TRY ,STARTING WITH UMPIRING WHERE A SINGLE DECISION CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF THE MATCH -AND NOT SUBJECT TO HUMAN ERROR - OR TO THINK OF A PROGRAMMED MACHINE THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO BUGGING- THEN THE MIRACLE OF DRUGS THAT POWERFUL PLAYERS WILL GET AWAY WITH BUT THE WEAK - HERE THERE IS TIMING, DRUG DEFINITION AND HOW WHERE APPLIED BY WHAT LAWS.- I BROUGHT THIS UP TEN YEARS BACK.

GOOD HONEST GOVERNANCE INTO ALL THESE CAN INDEED GO A LONG WAY- THIS MEANS HIGH PROFILE NON PARTISAN MEMBERS WITH CLOUT.

INCIDENTALLY, ALL THIS COMING ON HEAL OF SOME CRICKETERS FACING TRIAL SOUNDS LIKE REINVENTING CRICKET HISTORY - GOOD LUCK!

Posted by Umair111 on (June 6, 2011, 13:11 GMT)

@ Nick great perspective.Yes gambling is illegal in Subcontinent(Ind/PK) with no Casino's/Betting Tabs in Pubs/Clubs but there is a "FEAR" of being caught out from the houses(Used as Betting Den's)...It's a very complex circle.But if Australiasia is serious about it,they should "BAN" gambling altogether.When the money is involved,it's not sport anymore.AU Government has to close Betting Dens(Betting Tabs) in Pubs & Clubs across Australia.You have to go to the "Root Cause"...WC 2015 hosted in Australiasia(AU/NZ),looking forward to it...

Posted by Smithie on (June 6, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

Given Malcolm Speed's "revered" status in India can we now expect Srinivasan and the BCCI to lobby the Indian Govt for some anti match fixing laws?????

Posted by dsig3 on (June 6, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

Need to stop the exotic bets at all cost. No compromise. Where there are exotic bets there will inevitably be match fixing.

Posted by farkin on (June 6, 2011, 9:24 GMT)

about time Australia did it

Posted by   on (June 6, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

We should always be wary of creating a black market for sports betting on particular incidences.India has banned all sports betting and yet the biggest turnover on cricket betting is in India.Proper policing and use of already existing legislation is the way to go here.Wasn't Hayden Haitana,the trainer of Fine Cotton jailed for cheating back in the 80's?Danny Hobby jumped off a horse deliberately and did time as well I recall.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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