County news May 31, 2012

Anti-corruption team to monitor county cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

The ECB have created a new anti-corruption team to monitor domestic one-day cricket. Seven officials will oversee matches in the Friends Life t20 and Clydesdale Bank 40 competitions.

The new team has been set up as part of the ECB's anti-corruption unit and will be deployed at televised and non-televised matches, performing a similar role to the ICC's regional security managers in international cricket. They will operate from the first round of FLt20 matches, which begins on June 12, to the final round of CB40 games on August 27.

"The officials will be a visible presence at matches," David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, said. "They will act as a constant reminder to players, officials and club personnel of the need for constant vigilance with regard to this issue as we seek to identify, prevent and eradicate corrupt practises from our domestic game."

Providing an increased security presence is part of the ongoing anti-corruption drive by the ECB, which began following the conviction of Mervyn Westfield for spot-fixing in February. The ECB opened a three-month amnesty period for anonymously reporting any information linked to corruption - from which there were no major developments - and all professional players in England, including overseas signings, were required to complete an online anti-corruption tutorial.

The move also coincides with the impending sale of ECB broadcast rights to Asia. The lucrative deal, which is expected to run from 2013, will see some county matches televised on the subcontinent.

"ECB has been at the forefront of efforts to stamp out corruption in cricket," Collier said. "The creation of a dedicated team of officials to monitor our domestic limited overs competitions demonstrates our determination to protect the integrity of the sport."

Limited overs matches, many of which are televised live, have been identified as the fixtures most at risk to corruption. Westfield was convicted after accepting £6,000 to concede a set number of runs in an over playing for Essex against Durham in a CB40 match in September 2009 and allegations of corruption have been made against players involved in the IPL and Bangladesh Premier League.

In light of Westfield's arrest in 2010, the ECB created a new anti-corruption unit last year, headed by Chris Watts, a former Metropolitan police officer.