Match-fixing March 13, 2012

India's role will be key to fighting corruption - Mani


Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president, has urged cricket boards to take responsibility to curb corruption in the sport by engaging with their governments and law enforcement agencies to punish the perpetrators they find. Mani said while the role of the ICC was limited, India's role in this exercise could be "significant" if it found a way to monitor and regulate the illegal betting industry in the country.

"Every time it is the players who are under the radar. The ones who corrupt the cricketers are somehow never punished," Mani told ESPNcricinfo. "One was hoping that the conviction of three Pakistanis and one English cricketer would send out a strong message and frighten players, but this I think is not going to work. In the long run, it is the root-cause that has to be dealt with."

An undercover operation by the Sunday Times stated that two Indian bookmakers had claimed they remained undeterred by the recent prosecutions of professional cricketers, the game continued to offer plenty of opportunities for spot-fixing and that professional cricketers could be easily be lured in all forms of the game. In the report the bookies had said that they had recruited players from several countries to throw part or all of international matches, including the World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan. The ICC denied there had been evidence to "prompt an investigation into the match."

Mani defended the ICC's actions in the current environment, saying its role was limited as the influence of the illegal betting industry was hard to control. "They don't have the authority to set up the sting operations in any country so the responsibility [should be] laid on the individual boards to follow up. The problem is the illegal bookies in the subcontinent - most of them are from India and some are in Pakistan. They work in a grey area where there is no control and monitoring."

The Sunday Times reported the bookmaker's laundry list of fixing 'rates' offered. "Tens of thousands of pounds are on offer to fix matches, typically £44,000 ($70,000) to batsmen for slow scoring; £50,000 ($80,000) for bowlers who concede runs; and as much as £750,000 ($1.2m) to players or officials who can guarantee the outcome of a match," the newspaper reported the bookmaker's claims.

The figures did not surprise Mani who said players could be easily tempted when they were offered large sums of money for little effort. "I'm afraid there will be some $600m involved in the upcoming one match between India and Pakistan on March 18. So for them [illegal bookmakers] investing $5 to 10m on a player is nothing. These days fixing a whole team isn't possible but controlling individual player is viable and it could be common."

The ECB, Mani said, had been proactive in the Westfield case, asking players to come forward to reveal what they knew. They board responded robustly to concerns that the county circuit was as vulnerable to the influence of illegal bookies as the international game. The Indian board, however, Mani said, needed to take cognisance of the newspaper report. Even the BCCI had declined to respond, with the IPL governing council chairman Rajeev Shukla saying, "Newspapers can publish anything, unless we get something concrete from an agency or ICC, I don't think it would be appropriate to react to it."

Mani said India could play a significant role by making betting legal. "These problems will never finish until the Indian government finds a way to regulate illegal book-making. I have seen the ECB showing concern, asking players to come and tell them what they know after Westfield's sentencing. I think it's the member boards who have to step up to engage the law enforcement agencies to work with them to clean up cricket."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shiv on March 14, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    I suspected the entire 2011 World Cup. From group stages all the way to the final.

  • Unni on March 14, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    So Mr.Mani ask your government to co-operate with India and if both countries do a joint operation not only cricket corruption but most of the problems can be solved.But that will never happen as long as the politicians in both the countries are having nexus with all these corruptions

  • Anuj on March 14, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    I strongly believe WC was not fixed. Drop catches are part of the game. I would like to say that it is the Beauty of the game,how the game turned on his head once you take a wicket or drop a catch.

    All batsmen play fluently till they reach 90 run mark and suddenly for next 10 runs they get nervous or play like that they have just came to bat. This is what pressure is all about. Pakis were unable to handle the pressure of WC semi.Match was not fix. Better luck next time

  • Abdul on March 14, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    Its common knowledge to all in the cricketing faternity that india based bookies are heavily involved in the game and have an impact on the results of matches. the WC semifinal was clear example. The ICC is a blind toothless tiger ! why should they take action against the bookies from a country which provides them with all the finances to line their purses. Of course the ICC will not investigate allegations because they already know the outcome and how could they criticise anything to do with India, god forbid!! They are the most biased and unprofessional governing body in world sport. If you are going to solve this ongoing issue, you need to regulate the betting industry in India and by doing so the Indian government stands to collect huge amount of taxes in return. The legalisation of betting in India and replacing the entire current ICC management will be the first steps in getting to grips with the situation and bringing cricket back as a 'true sport' harm in dreaming ! :)

  • Satish on March 14, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    Very much true.. ICC should more concentrate on educating its players and boards to have more toughness on corruption.. It is really necessary for the game to be pure.. @ranuk : I think cricket usually played like the mSF match.. Some players do play in their own style and Misbah is one such guy.. I can't promise the match is clean but i wont simply put the match in doubt.. that way in fact, each and everything can be questioned..

  • ranu on March 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    As a true cricket fan for last 30 years, I sensed it when I was watching the WC semi final match between India and Pakistan. I doubt the outcome of the WC final as well. Not a Gentlemen game any more.

  • Nick on March 14, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    It wouldn't surprise me if there are officials on cricket Board who are involved somehow, and those that aren't are mismanaging the issue. The Cairns example is a case in point. If so many people believe Cairns was fixing ICL games, why did nobody reported it at the time and why wasn't official action taken? Andrew Hall (the coach) suspects the players are making it up. Why would Modi accuse him on twitter without taking further action or initiating an official process? Why has he refused to testify in the libel action or produce evidence? All he has pointed to was some payments from a diamond company that happened before the tournament, and some statements from former players which the coach does not think are genuine. Assuming the bookies are not stupid, wouldn't payments usually occur after the fixing, not before the tournament? Assuming Chris Cairns is not stupid, why would he initiate a libel action if he fixed games? What action or investigation is being made into the company?

  • Amjad on March 14, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    Agreed, illegal bookies are the root of this whole farce and most of the time something like this breaks out its usually an Indian bookie behind it. These bookies are the source of the huge money involved in it, the responsibility comes on the shoulders of Indian government to put an end to illegal betting.

  • hayden on March 14, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    the way i see it india need to legalise sports betting. it can be government regulated that way and it gives indian punters a legal alturnative over dealing with shaddy bookies. yes india might want to take the supposed moral high ground and say gambling is not something they want in their culture so therefore why would they want to legalise it, but they must understand it already exists in their country. would it not be better to have licenced book makers or a set up like the tab in aus, where the books are open to govt audits. the profits could be arranged to go to charities rather than lineing the pockets of cricketers who will bowl no balls or some other thing upon the request of a dodgy bookie.

  • David on March 13, 2012, 23:09 GMT

    I find nowadays that virtually all ODIs and T20 internationals leave me full of suspicion, as does the IPL and also Australia and England's domestic T20s too. I get the impression that pretty much all players actually try in Tests, but every passage of ODI slow scoring or loss of wickets (in spite of defensive fields) leaves me deeply suspicious. The Pakistani players miss out on IPL wealth, but my suspicion is that many if not most international players would be interested in $100,000 for slow scoring or conceding runs in a meaningless ODI or in $1 million for actually fixing a game. I would be very easily bought! And there is a deeper problem too. The current London court case's verdict will make clearer whether or not the ICL was fixed. If it was, is there any reason to believe that the IPL would be any different? And worse, could it be argued that some of the bizarre IPL auction bids are a means of paying for services? Rendered?

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