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January 16, 2010
The ICC has sent its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), led by chief investigator Ravi Sawani, to New Zealand to sensitise players participating in the Under-19 World Cup about match-fixing. Prior to the tournament, the ACSU lectured the teams on safety precautions to ensure they did not fall into the trap of bookies and match-fixers.
Chris Kuggeleijn, coach of the New Zealand team, said Sawani cautioned the players about the prevalence of match-fixing, and how bookies often tended to fix smaller details in 'spot-bets' rather than involve players in full-blown match-fixing. Potential spot-bets include the number of wides or no-balls bowled in a spell or even the number of fielders wearing caps on the field.
"The thing that was made clear is that it is still going on, it hasn't been stamped out, and it's pretty scary. Fixers take you out for tea, they talk to you, always say hello and become your friend," Kuggeleijn was quoted in the New Zealand Herald
"It might even take them a year to fully build the relationship. They're just after little snippets of information and it is things within a match to bet on rather than full-blown match-fixing.
"Once you do something you're bug*****. That's because someone across the road will be taking a photo of you having a drink with the match-fixer or they'll snap you taking something off him. Then you can't get out."
Kuggeleijn expressed hope that ACSU's measures at the World Cup would help to develop awareness among players at a young age.
"The ICC approach includes prevention through education and enforcement of minimum standards and discipline in the dressing rooms; the gathering of intelligence; the investigation of reported breaches or approaches; and, where appropriate, disciplinary procedures. Hopefully, the ACSU's presence will make players aware of the potential dangers."
ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald also reiterated that the ICC strove to control spot-betting at all levels.
"Spot betting is an area we work hard to monitor. Players will be educated on that issue too. Potential corruptors look for vulnerable players and officials to provide inside information or encourage them to under-perform", Fitzgerald said.
Ross Taylor, who captained New Zealand in the 2002 edition of the U-19 World Cup, was in favour of the involvement of the ICC ACSU in the youth event.
"Those involved in illegal betting like to 'groom' players from an early age, so quite a long way back, we decided to extend our education programme to the Under-19 World Cup. Obviously what to look out for doesn't apply so much at that [Under-19] level but a number of those players were always going to represent their countries at the top level," Taylor said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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