Spot-fixing controversy November 4, 2011

Fixing to be illegal in Australia in 2012

Fixing matches or elements within them will be illegal in Australia in 2012, perhaps as soon as March, as the federal and state governments push ahead with specialised legislation.

The legislation, which is set to include penalties of up to 10 years' jail for those found to be involved in match-fixing, was encouraged and informed by cricket administrators, via the Coalition of Major Participation and Professional Sports (COMPPS), following the game's long and pained history of shady dealings between players and illegal bookmakers.

State attorneys-general are scheduled to meet in Hobart later this month to discuss the legislation, which was agreed to by the federal and state sports ministers at a Council of Australian Governments meeting in Brisbane June. Support for the legislation on both sides of politics should hasten its speedy progress into law.

There is a desire to have the legislation, which will need to pass through each state parliament, in place by the time football seasons commence for AFL and rugby league, well in advance of Cricket Austrlaia's preference for it to be in place in time for the 2015 World Cup.

In addition to the criminal legislation, proposed measures to outlaw the manipulation of matches include the introduction of formal integrity agreements between sporting bodies and betting firms, while the federal government will oversee the formation of a national sports integrity office.

The office will be responsible for formulating integrity agreements and codes of conduct for a wide range of sports. Any electing not to co-operate will face the loss of government funding.

Pakistan's government is also considering the introduction of similar legislation, and the ICC's chief executive Haroon Lorgat has said sporting bodies needed the help of legislative oversight.

"A regulatory framework with appropriate laws to deal specifically with sports corruption is better than no legislation and is something that we would support," he said in June. "As a sporting body, our code - and our mandate - covers only players, officials and other support personnel. We are not a law-enforcement agency, so if there are ways in which nations' legislative framework can help us to maintain cricket's integrity then naturally we would encourage and support that."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo