New Zealand news July 31, 2014

NZ bill proposes imprisonment as fixing punishment

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand is seeking to address the issue of corruption in sport before the 2015 World Cup with the introduction of a bill that makes match-fixing a crime. The bill, a proposed amendment to the Crimes Act of 1961, was introduced in May and the first reading was unanimously approved in New Zealand's parliament on Thursday.

The bill seeks to classify fixing in sport as a crime and, in its current form, proposes a punishment of up to seven years' imprisonment for individuals who manipulate or influence the outcome of a game for personal benefit. The ambit of the proposed bill extends to all matches under sporting codes as well as races, such as horse, boat or car races.

New Zealand's justice minister, Judith Collins, said the bill was designed to protect the integrity of sport in New Zealand.

"This is a short, but very important bill. It is designed to protect the integrity of New Zealand sport," Collins said. "Match-fixing is a growing problem internationally and has been described as the No 1 threat to the integrity, value and growth of sport.

"As we have seen with recent events, New Zealand is not immune to this growing threat. That's why the government is taking action on this matter."

The reading of the bill comes a few weeks after Lou Vincent's admission of involvement in fixing. Vincent had been under investigation by the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit since December last year, after which he was charged by the ECB for fixing domestic games. Vincent was given a life-ban by the ECB, a penalty that was supported by New Zealand Cricket.

Fixing legislation in some form is also present in a few other cricket countries. In 2011, all states and territories in Australia agreed to bring in criminal legislation against fixing. While a few states have already done so, others are in the process of bringing in such laws, but there is no federal law in place. In England, the law is aimed at punters and cheating but not specifically fixing. Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, has stated that the board is working with the government on laws that make fixing a criminal offence.

The match-fixing bill will now be taken up by a law and order select committee. The bill could be passed into law before the World Cup and the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which New Zealand will host later next year.

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  • logan on August 2, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    yeah i agree with thenoostar.... i think a life or periodic ban for fixing is a good medium as they have their income taken away and many other issues to face compared to prison.... also as it costs a rather large sum of money to keep someone in NZ in prison (giving them that satisfaction) would be annoying.... criminal proceeds recovery act however, where people have to pay back/ or get assets or profits seized associated with income made from criminal endeavours, would be a good deterrent... im sure this could be calculated relatively easily!

  • Nick on August 2, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    Jail time for match fixing.... You must be joking! In the scheme of crimes, match fixing is rather minor and hardly needs specific laws.

  • Prashan on August 2, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    Great move and hats off salutes to New Zealand. As a mega sports lover, cant ask for anything more. It must be a minimum 10 year imprisonment for those involved in match fixing.

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