ICC welcomes PCB's measures against corruption
The ICC has given a cautious nod of approval to the PCB's efforts in toughening its approach to corruption in cricket and undertaking reforms to improve the administration of the game in Pakistan. However, the ICC has warned against complacency and reiterated a series of measures to all member boards to make efforts at eliminating corruption in the aftermath of the spot-fixing controversy.
"We are encouraged by the excellent progress reported and also the willingness of the Pakistan Cricket Board to embrace the ICC recommendations," ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said after a meeting of the Pakistan task force, a group aimed at bringing international cricket back to Pakistan, on Saturday. "However, we can never be complacent nor distracted in our determination to tackle corruption."
The ICC, earlier this month, had warned the PCB over the continuing decline of governance in Pakistan cricket and had conveyed a clear message to get its act together by sorting out the game's administration or facing the consequences, possibly in the form of sanctions. The PCB was given a 30-day deadline to conduct a thorough and far-reaching review of its "player integrity issues" and report back to the task force.
In the interim, the PCB, as advised by the ICC, has introduced a revised code of conduct with a strong emphasis on anti-corruption which has been signed by all players ahead of the tour of the UAE later this month. The board has also set up an Integrity Committee, aimed at finding ways to move forward after the spot-fixing controversy, deal with the ICC's recommendations and address issues of corruption and doping, each of which have plagued Pakistan cricket in the past. The committee comprises several senior officials of the board including chairman Ijaz Butt, chief operating officer Wasim Bari, team manager Intikhab Alam and director of international cricket Zakir Khan.
The PCB has also been asked to implement education programmes for players, a "proper, accountable and robust disciplinary process for the sport" and a process to deter and detect corrupt elements within the game, "whether it be players, officials, agents or any other individual."
Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, who heads the Pakistan task force, emphasised the need for the PCB to reform itself. "The task team urged everyone to support the PCB to reform its cricket and governance models and the important role Ijaz Butt has to play in this regard," Clarke said. "An independent board would help it to regain its glory and ensure long-term success."
Lorgat also reiterated the ICC's recommendations to member boards for eliminating corruption in the game. They included the introduction of a domestic anti-corruption code that mirrors the ICC's. He further urged members to review player contracts and introduce appropriate clauses to ensure players comply with anti-corruption rules and regulations.
Among the initiatives discussed was a one-off declaration by all players as a commitment to preserving the integrity of the game. "We have issued a broad advisory to every ICC Member about the need to root out corruption from our great sport," Lorgat said. "This advisory requests all international players and support personnel to sign a once-off declaration before participating in the next FTP match and/or ICC event."
"Such declaration is intended to serve as an important reminder of the spirit in which the game is meant to be played, the importance of its integrity and their roles and responsibilities in this regard."
The Pakistan Task Force includes Clarke, Lorgat, Zimbabwe Cricket chief Peter Chingoka, ICC's General Manager of Cricket Dave Richardson, Chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle and former captains Mike Brearley and Ramiz Raja.