June 8, 2001

Final King report handed to South African government

The final report from Justice Edwin King's commission of inquiry into match-fixing and corruption in cricket has been completed and handed over to the South African government, the United Cricket Board said on Friday.

The King Commission was instituted following revelations in India that former South African captain Hansie Cronje had been captured on tape recordings discussing what appeared to be arrangements to fix matches with an Indian bookmaker.

After representations from the UCB, the SA government appointed Justice King to head an inquiry into the matter. Public hearings were held in Cape Town last June during which the extent of Cronje's involvement and that of Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams became apparent.

Whether the whole story was revealed is a matter for conjecture. Several witnesses who might have been able to shed further light on the affair were not called to give evidence and there were conflicting reports, especially from former South African coach Bob Woolmer, that the UCB, and former managing director Ali Bacher in particular, had been aware of approaches to the South African team for several years.

Whatever the case, no further hearings took place and despite travelling to India, the commission was unable to lay its hands on the incriminating tapes. Cronje, meanwhile, was banned from cricket for life - he is currently in the process of challenging the ban - while Gibbs and Williams received and served six-month bans.

The revelations of the King commission, and those of the Quayam Report in Pakistan, led directly to the appointment of Sir Paul Condon as the ICC anti-corruption commissioner.

Despite recent suggestions that Cronje could face criminal prosecution for not making full disclosure, this seems unlikely and Justice King's report is not expected to contain a great deal more than his already published interim report.

The final report has been handed to the Ministry of Sport and Recreation who, in turn will pass it on to South African President, Thabo Mbeki. Once President Mbeki has read the report it will be released to the UCB and the public.