ICC to ask members to adopt stronger anti-corruption laws
The ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) is likely to recommend that its members adopt stronger anti-corruption laws to prosecute players, match-officials and franchise owners found guilty of corrupt practices in domestic Twenty20 leagues. Sir Ronnie Flannagan, the chairman of the ACSU, is expected to address these concerns during ICC's annual conference, which begins at the Lord's cricket ground today.
Flannagan is expected to highlight the threats and challenges, and give recommendations to ICC members on how to curb the dangers of corruption. These concerns come in the wake of various corruption crises that have taken place in the last year, exposing the loosely-fit anti-corruption mechanisms that are used in lucrative domestic T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL).
In May, three IPL players, including the Indian fast bowler Sreesanth, were arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing. A franchise owner, Gurunath Meiyappan, was also arrested for alleged involvement in betting a few days later. In Bangladesh, Mohammad Ashraful confessed to indulging in corrupt practices during the BPL. Last year, the news channel, India TV, carried out a sting operation in which match officials were caught on video agreeing to divulge information.
However, the Indian judicial system has no specific law yet to deal with corruption in sport and the ACSU fears this might allow perpetrators to get way easily. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also face the same issue and culprits cannot be held under criminal offence in the absence of relevant laws. Hence, Flannagan is likely to recommend that members, and the three countries in particular, ask their federal governments to institute a law to discourage people from getting involved in corrupt practices and corrupt elements.
One of the other important issues likely to come up for discussion is the decision on the venue for next year's World Twenty20, scheduled between March 16 and April 6 in Bangladesh. Recently the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) raised a red flag on the delay in setting up proper infrastructure to meet the original deadline set by the ICC. BCB president Nazmul Hasan, who went public with his displeasure over the slow work at two of the four venues, is likely to address the ICC board on this matter. The members are likely to discuss options - from setting new timelines or conducting further inspections to moving the tournament to another country as a viable alternative.
The five-day annual conference begins with the Associate and Affiliate Members' meeting (June 25), chief executives' committee meeting (25-26), governance review committee, finance and commercial affairs committee, and the HR and remuneration committee meetings (June 27-28). These will be followed by the annual conference on June 28 before the two-day ICC Development International board meetings on June 28 and 29.
One of the main items on the agenda at the chief executives' committee (CEC) meeting is an assessment of the decisions recently taken by the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee. The new ODI rules - which were rolled out last October and include fielding restrictions and the use of two new balls - have been accepted with skepticism by some countries. India captain MS Dhoni had stated, before the Champions Trophy, that the rules were a big challenge. The cricket committee had decided to observe how teams fared during the Champions Trophy before debating on whether the new rules needed to be modified or carried forward till the 2015 World Cup.
Kumble's committee was also concerned about the members ignoring the ICC's Future Tours Programme and sacrificing Tests to accommodate more ODIs or T20s. The CEC is expected to discuss how best to maintain a balance between all three formats. The Cricket Committee had earlier suggested that members play a minimum number of Tests across a four-year period to protect the format.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo