County matches more vulnerable to match fixing, says ECB

According to a senior police detective, domestic matches are at more risk of match fixing than international matches as international cricketers are subjected to far more scrutiny Getty Images

London: Dec 15, 2011

ECB’s anti-corruption chief Chris Watts feels it would be “naive” to believe that county cricket had not been affected by corruption and said that the domestic league is at greater risk of falling prey to match-fixing than the international circuit.

“From what I know, I would suggest that (fixing) is probably around the domestic game,” Watts, a former senior detective with the Metropolitan Police, told BBC Sport.

“That’s where some of the risks are, more so than the international arena. International players are under far more scrutiny than players in the domestic game. That’s what would lead me to form that view,” he added.

“That’s possibly where the threat may lie at the moment.”

Corruption rocked the cricket world last year when three Pakistani cricketers — Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt — were found to be involved in spot-fixing during a Test match at the Lord’s.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s new anti-corruption unit was established in June following the scandal that ended with the sentencing of the three players for their roles in deliberately bowling no-balls.

Another cricketer, Mervyn Westfield, who played for Essex, is due to face trial in January over allegations of spot-fixing in a match against Durham in September 2009.

Alarmed by the rising cases of corruption, the Professional Cricketers’ Association has asked players to complete an online tutorial, which warns how criminals may first attempt to “groom” them and then ask to fix aspects of the game.

PCA chief executive Angus Porter felt there are a number of players with information on corruption who are not coming out in the open and wants an amnesty for them.

Porter also urged the ICC to “encourage, incentivise or make” every country’s cricket board adopt a uniform approach in tackling corruption, or risk continued worldwide vulnerability. (PTI)