ICC anti-corruption unit under review
Cricket's independent watchdog, the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), is to be reviewed by the game's big three nations, with the body potentially being asked to report directly to the chairman of the board rather than the chief executive of the ICC. The proposals, which stem from the realisation that the sport has changed substantially since the time the ACSU was set up, could see the watchdog effectively controlled by three countries: Australia, England and India.
It also means that, barring a dramatic turn of events, the chairman whom the reorganised body will report to is N Srinivasan, who is currently stood down from his duties as BCCI president on orders from India's Supreme Court following allegations of mismanagement related to the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that at the April round of ICC meetings in Dubai, a formal review into the function and functionality of the ACSU was commissioned, with the report to be compiled by a four-man team including representatives of India, England and Australia, alongside the ICC chief executive David Richardson. Terms of reference for the review, and its timeline to return findings, are still being finalised.
It is believed that a proposal was discussed at meetings surrounding the central board gatherings of the ICC and IDI (ICC Development International, the current commercial arm of the ICC). The proposal pushed for a dramatic reduction of the size of the central ACSU in favour of closer links between the anti-corruption teams of Full Member nations.
While the proposal is understood to have been met with a decidedly mixed response by representatives of several nations, the commitment to a review of the workings of the ACSU was encouraged by the widely held view that the issue of corruption in the game has changed shape considerably since the unit was set up.
At the time of its inception in 2000, under the control of the retired Commissioner of London Metropolitan Police, Lord Condon, corruption was seen as primarily an issue for international games broadcast on satellite television. However the explosion of T20, and thus the number of opportunities for matches to be illegally influenced, has encouraged boards to initiate their own units, which may now work more cohesively together.
"Because the issue of corruption has moved a lot in recent years with the emergence of domestic T20 competitions, it was time to look at the structure of the policing force and how they tie together," one official said. "It's about making sure they work across international and domestic cricket as a united force, as opposed to being islands of anti-corruption people."
Discussions around the role of the ACSU have gone on at ICC board level for some time, flowing on from the evolution of anti-corruption teams in many Full Member countries and the development of greater emphasis on the integrity of domestic Twenty20 tournaments such as the IPL and the Big Bash League.
If the proposed change regarding whom the ACSU reports to is passed, it would maintain a drift of primary responsibility for decision-making away from the ICC management quartered in Dubai, where they have been ridiculed by the ECB chairman Giles Clarke in particular for wasting money.
According to resolutions agreed upon in February, which are expected to be cleared by the ICC full council in June, the chairman of the executive board will be appointed "on an annual rotation basis solely from the nominees of the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB" with an option to serve for one more year if unanimously agreed upon by the big three.
Nevertheless, the question of where the body may report to is a vexing one. The ACSU's independence has allowed it to pursue leads without fear or favour, even if the body's list of convicted match-fixers is a short one. The unit is currently monitoring the development of the probe into corruption in the IPL being conducted by the Supreme Court of India, while also continuing other investigations of its own.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig