MCC news July 21, 2011

FICA take a stand against lie detectors

ESPNcricinfo staff

Lie detectors should not be used to investigate corruption in cricket as many courts around the world refuse to recognise their validity, according to the international players' chief Tim May. Steve Waugh, a member of the MCC Cricket Committee, has proposed the use of lie detectors to expose players involved in fixing matches, and he took a polygraph this week to show how they worked.

And while the England captain Andrew Strauss said he liked the idea of using lie detectors and would be happy to take a polygraph if they were introduced to catch corrupt cricketers, not all cricket figures share his opinion. May, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), said his organisation "rejected outright" the idea of using lie detectors.

"I commend MCC and Steve Waugh for trying to be proactive in the fight against corruption, but lie detector tests are far from foolproof and not permissible as a means of determining people's guilt or innocence in the courts of the majority, if not all, cricketing territories," May said. "It is therefore totally unacceptable that players should be put under pressure to submit to testing that is far from foolproof.

"To publicly request players to make 'some stand' against corruption, by submitting to this 'imperfect' testing is irresponsible and FICA will oppose such actions in the strongest possible manner. The testing is far from foolproof - that's why it's not allowed to convict people in a court of law.

"It's a no win situation for the players - they quite rightly should decline to submit to one - the testing is not foolproof, the players are not under suspicion for any corruption offence but now with the MCC publicly encouraging them to submit to one, if the player refuses, it looks like he is hiding something."

May said he had written to the MCC to air FICA's concerns over the matter. The Cricket Committee, which met at Lord's this week, also suggested that the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) should have the power to perform sting operations similar to that staged by the News of the World last year against Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Phil on July 22, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    I must agree with Tim May. Polygraphs are widely dismissed by the scientific community as being unreliable and are not considered capable of being used seriously in court systems. Steve Waugh says it's not the intention to make players who don't volunteer to take one look as though they have something to hide, but that will be the upshot. He doesn't then go on to say what the intention is, and I can't see what it might be, so perhaps he could explain.

  • Dummy4 on July 21, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Test it on Ijaz Butt, everyone will agree with results

  • Jason on July 21, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    If Polygraphs werent so slawed it would be a good idea, however its relatively easy to beat a polygraph, or even receive a false positive.

  • Prabhu on July 21, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    It is the boards officials and administration which needs to come into this purview first. One there is a honest master there will be honesty imbibed in pupils. Disciplinary measures are for all. It does not create any distinction in its results.

  • Rohit on July 21, 2011, 5:20 GMT

    Someone tell FICA that BCCI has the exact same stand as them on this issue. Surely Tim May will do a volte face then?

  • Navneet on July 21, 2011, 1:55 GMT

    What is FICA and who is Tim May?

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