February 24, 1999

Findings of the O'Regan Player Conduct Inquiry

The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) today announced that Mr Rob O'Regan AM QC had completed the Player Conduct Inquiry instituted by the Board last December.

Mr O'Regan, who is a former Chairman of the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission, was asked to examine all aspects of gambling within Australian cricket, match-fixing and bribery-related matters and possible contact between players and officials and gambling interests.

The ACB established its Player Conduct Inquiry so as to ensure it could maintain public confidence in its management of cricket in Australia and Mr O'Regan's report was made public at a press conference in Melbourne today.

Mr O'Regan was specifically directed to examine a number of incidents relating to gambling and bookmakers since 1992, as well as to make recommendations regarding the ACB's management and disciplinary procedures.

During the course of the Inquiry, some 64 people were formally interviewed, including all current Australian ACB-contracted players and a wide range of former players and officials. Many others were contacted but could not add anything to the Inquiry.

Mr O'Regan specifically examined the following incidents;

  • An approach made to Dean Jones during the 1992 tour to Sri Lanka.
  • Allegations of improper conduct regarding matches in India in 1992.
  • An approach made to Allan Border during the 1993 Ashes tour of England.
  • The circumstances of Mark Waugh and Shane Warne's contact with an Indian bookmaker in 1994-95.
  • An approach made to Ricky Ponting during the 1997-98 Australian season.
  • An approach made to Mark Taylor during the 1998 tour to Pakistan.

Among Mr O'Regan's recommendations were;

  • The ACB should review the manner in which it deals with serious disciplinary matters.
  • If a player is found guilty in such proceedings, that finding and any penalty imposed should be made public.
  • Consideration be given for suspensions, particularly life suspensions as punishment for serious offences involving match fixing and bribery.
  • All players to be counselled concerning penalties in regard to untoward contact with gambling interests.

Mr O'Regan was critical of the penalties imposed by the ACB on Mark Waugh and Shane Warne in 1995.

He believed that suspensions were the most effective deterrent. However, he ruled out any further charges being laid against these two players for their offences from four years ago.

Mr O'Regan said he believed his Inquiry to be as searching and as comprehensive as possible in the circumstances allowed.

"There is a need for reform of disciplinary procedures, and also a need to ensure that the penalties available to punish the most serious forms of misconduct are sufficiently severe to be an effective deterrent," Mr O'Regan said.

"I hope this report assists the ACB in deciding what to do about these matters and in ensuring that the great game of cricket, long a source of pride and pleasure to countless Australians, remains unsullied," he said.