Lou Vincent has publicly admitted to match fixing © Getty Images
London/Wellington: Jul 1, 2014
New Zealand’s disgraced batsman Lou Vincent was today banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Champions League Twenty20 within hours of publicly confessing his role in match-fixing and offering “deepest apologies” for shaming the game and his country. ”The England and Wales Cricket Board today announced that the former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent has been banned from cricket for life after he admitted breaching the ECB’s anti-corruption regulations,” the ECB stated.
“Mr Vincent pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of the regulations in total. Four breaches related to a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham in June 2008. The remaining 14 charges related to two fixtures played at Hove in August 2011, namely a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 match and a Sussex v Kent CB40 match,” it added.
“My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat. I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money in fixing,” Vincent said in an emotional statement. ”I have lived with this dark secret for so many years, but months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth. It’s a truth that has rightly caused uproar and controversy in New Zealand and around the world. I have shamed my country, I have shamed my sport, I have shamed those close to me. And for that, I am not proud,” he added.
Within hours of this statement, the ECB banned Vincent for life. He was also banned for life by the Champions League Twenty20 after pleading guilty to seven charges of spot-fixing. ”Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) today announced that former Auckland Aces batsman Lou Vincent has been banned for life from participating in the tournament after pleading guilty to seven charges relating to spot fixing,” CLT20 said in a statement.
It was found that Vincent attempted to corrupt two matches involving the Auckland Aces during the October 2012 CLT20 played in South Africa by entering into agreements with a bookmaker for financial gain. Vincent had also accepted bribes for fixing games during the now-defunct Indian Cricket League. He has also been held guilty for failing to report approaches by bookies during the Bangladesh Premier League last year.
“I lost faith in myself, in the game, I abused the game I loved. I had to put things right. Speaking out, exposing the truth, laying bare the things I have done wrong, is the only way I could find to begin to put things right,” said the 35-year-old, who played 23 Tests for his country. The ECB said 11 of the 18 charges against Vincent called for life bans.
“In accordance with the ECB Anti-Corruption Code, Mr Vincent has accepted an agreed sanction of a life ban from all forms of cricket, in the form of concurrent life bans for each of the 11 offences which carried a life ban. The terms of the ban, which required the approval of the ECB’s independent Cricket Discipline Commission, will prevent him from playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by ECB, the ICC or any other National Cricket Federation.”, the ECB said.
The former opener said he could muster the courage to speak the truth only after being inspired by his wife. ”The time has come for me now to face them like a man and accept the consequences – whatever they may be. I could not live with my wrongdoings any longer and after meeting my future wife Susie, after learning what unconditional love really is, I felt strong enough to tell her what I’d done and she has helped me take the painful steps in telling my parents, my wider family and then the authorities,” he said.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said Vincent was brought to book due to the effective coordination between his Board and the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. ”This has been a complex case which has crossed different cricketing jurisdictions and required close collaboration and intelligence-sharing between both our own anti-corruption unit, other domestic boards and the ICC’s ACSU,” he said.
“We are extremely pleased that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that an individual who repeatedly sought to involve others in corrupt activity for his own personal gain has accepted that his conduct warrants a lifetime ban from cricket,” he asserted.
Vincent, in his statement, said admitting his crime has helped him regain some lost respect. ”I am proud of the ones I love, especially my immediate family and friends. Their strength, support and forgiveness has enabled me to address some of the deepest, most uncomfortable issues one can face. I can finally look my children in the eyes and tell them that honesty is the best policy – even if it feels like the hardest thing to do at times. I now believe in myself as a person again and I don’t wake up every morning hating myself. Today is the day I offer my deepest, deepest apologies to the public and the cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff, players past and present.”, he added.
Vincent thanked the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit for supporting him while he admitted to his wrongdoings. ”I apologise to and thank the ACSU for the help and support that is out there for all players, that has helped me a great deal, Chris Morris and his legal team and all the associations that have handled the sensitive situation with professionalism and respect,” he said.
Vincent said he has been battling depression. ”The people who know me know I’m vulnerable, but they also know that I am not stupid. And I know what is right and what is wrong. I do suffer from depression – that is absolutely no excuse for all I’ve done wrong. I used to think mistakes were made by bad people, but now I even know that good people can make the worst of mistakes. My actions I will regret for the rest of my life.”, he said. ”For sport to prosper, it is up to players to police the game, because they are the ones that will ultimately lose out and allow themselves to be used as pawns to make money,” he added.
Vincent hoped that his case would be a cautionary tale for those who are vulnerable to advances from corrupt elements. ”No one should ever be put in a position and no one should ever allow themselves to forget what sport is about and let money rule their decisions. The decisions I made were wrong. Players must be better than that; above reproach, for the fans, for the sport,” he said.
“For the first time in a very long time I feel positive about my future, I am finally becoming the man I want to be. I have to face up to my wrongs and make them right. I have kept my head down for too long now and it’s time to man up to my mistakes and today, I can stand with a better conscience because I know I am doing the right thing,” he added.
Vincent said he accepts the punishments that have been handed out to him. ”It is entirely my fault and I’ll never be able to stand in front of a game again, it’s entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers, but it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing. To do the right thing for themselves, for family and friends and for the sport they love. I accept my punishment,” he signed off.