Spot-fixing March 1, 2012

Players come forward to report corruption

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chris Watts, the ECB's anti-corruption chief, has said a number of cricketers have come forward to report information linked to match-fixing. Players have taken advantage of the amnesty window for reporting incidents linked to corruption that was opened in the wake of the Mervyn Westfield trial.

Westfield was sent to prison for four months in February, for accepting or obtaining corrupt payments as part of a spot-betting scam, prompting the ECB to allow players until the end of April to report any information they had previously witheld (it is an offence not to report approaches about corrupt activity).

"It is a confidential reporting window but there have been some reports," Watts told BBC Sport. "One of the reasons we put in the reporting window is to actually understand what is going on out there and what the vulnerabilities are. Once we understand that, then we can refine and fine-tune some of the preventive measures we've put in place."

One of the measures could be using Westfield to speak to other players about his experiences of spot-fixing. Westfield accepted £6,000 to concede 12 runs in an over playing for Essex against Durham in 2009 and could be used as part of the ECB's education programme after his release.

"He has got to be willing to do that. He did say publicly through his QC in his mitigation at his sentencing hearing that he wanted to give something back to cricket," Watts told the Daily Telegraph. "He's the one that has got to stand up and do it. He's made those soundings on intent but whether they come to fruition is a matter for him.

"He's got the inside knowledge about his experience so to hear that would be very powerful. For other players to hear at first hand would be very powerful but he has got to want to do it himself."

Watts also indicated that for the first time off-field staff employed by the counties will be included in the education process, alongside players and support personnel such as coaches and physiotherapists.

Watts took charge of the ECB's new anti-corruption unit in November. He was previously a specialist in murder investigations at the Metropolitan Police. The anti-corruption unit is working with the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) to root out corruption in English cricket. The PCA has asked every professional player to complete an online tutorial about preventing corruption; they hope overseas players will also complete the tutorial.

But the problem reaches beyond English cricket. PCA chief executive, Angus Porter, recently expressed his concerns over the organisation of the Bangladesh Premier League and whether sufficient anti-corruption measures were in place.

Edited by Alan Gardner

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Riversider91 on March 2, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    Fantastic work by the ECB for their response to this. Sadly leagues like the IPL have left the door open for theses kind of people.

  • da_man_ on March 2, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    I agree that the ECB has taken a leading role in this matter which is to be applauded. I equally feel the "certain other team(s)" have conducted themselves responsibly and admirably, and have played their part in placating the issue. This should also be recognised and applauded.

  • Zahidsaltin on March 1, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @Front, you never know and can't be sure of any player.

  • dummy4fb on March 1, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Re: Mervyn Westfield

    How is ICC handling this case? Did they or ECB put any ban on Mr. Westfield?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on March 1, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Every fan must surely applaud the way Strauss and the ECB has led the world in this matter, and the diplomacy and sportsmanship Strauss has shown to enable a calming down of relations between certain teams is second to none.

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