Spot-fixing controversy October 20, 2010

ICC plan unlawful if it's enacted, say players' lobbies

ESPNcricinfo staff

The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has said a plan being considered by the ICC to use undercover agents posing as bookies to approach players is potentially unlawful, but the English players' association isn't worried because it doesn't think the idea is a "serious" one.

"I think it was more a case of people at the ICC thinking out loud than a serious proposal so I'm not going to get too excited or worried about it at this stage," Angus Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), told ESPNcricinfo. "It's a case of the ICC bouncing ideas around and this is just one that came up." The PCA is the representative body of past and present first-class cricketers in England and Wales.

However, Porter added that if the idea were to go ahead, he would express his concerns, saying he doubts "the charges would stand a court of law."

The ICC is mulling the use of undercover agents to check how players respond to being approached by individuals who could be illegal bookmakers. Under the new plan, players who fail to report the approaches from the agents would face penalties under the ICC's anti-corruption code, as well as punishments ranging from warnings to fines and suspensions.

"Perhaps one way of ensuring vigilance is approaching a player and see if it is reported, because it is an offence not to report any approach." Haroon Lorgat, ICC chief executive, said.

Tony Irish, chief executive of SACA, said the sport's governing body needs "to get its house in order" with regard to protecting players' confidentiality before it could even consider supporting such a plan. "It is one thing to entrap players who may be directly involved in match fixing, but we have a number of concerns around entrapping innocent players for the purpose of sanctioning them for not reporting a suspicious approach."

He went on to echo the comments made by Paul Marsh, chief executive of the Australian Cricket Association, in saying he was disappointed the ICC did not consult the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, which has made a number of recommendations on how the players' associations can work more closely with the ICC and country boards to eradicate fixing. Marsh had also criticised the plan, saying it is neither "reasonable" nor "lawful".

Reported by Firdose Moonda, Sahil Dutta and Nagraj Gollapudi