Lou Vincent had confessed to his involvement in match-fixing © Getty Images
Lou Vincent had confessed to his involvement in match-fixing © Getty Images

Jul 31, 2014

The Government of New Zealand is taking serious steps to curb match-fixing and is ready to pass a law with regards to it. Currently a bill, the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill 2014, entails a seven-year punishment if found guilty of match-fixing. This comes in the light of former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent’s confession of indulging in such practices, and is mainly being brought into force with an eye on the ICC World Cup 2015.

New Zealand’s Sports and Recreation Minister was quoted by Australian Associated Press, “Match-fixing is a growing problem internationally and has been described as the number one threat to the integrity, value and growth of sport. As we’ve seen from recent events, New Zealand is not immune to this threat.” Currently, Vincent has admitted his role and has been banned for life. There are allegations against the legendary Chris Cairns, but he has denied it and is under investigation.

The main object clause of the bill reads as follows, “The Bill will help to address match-fixing risks presented by New Zealand’s hosting of the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 (football) World Cup. These events will occur over February-March and May-June 2015 respectively. The Bill is not designed to capture every form of match-fixing activity. It is intended to address the most serious match-fixing activity where influencing a betting outcome is intended by improperly manipulating a sporting match or race. Other types of match-fixing activity are better addressed by code of conduct or disciplinary procedures by relevant governing sports bodies or by other areas of the general law.”

There has been an outcry in the cricketing world following the confession of Vincent. It exposed the murky world and how vulnerable players can be to such evils. But, with this bill coming into play, it will act as a deterrent. In 2011, a court in London had sentenced Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif for varying prison terms after they were found guilty of spot-fixing.

An International Centre for Sport Security report released earlier this year estimated that more than US 140 billion is laundered annually through sport betting “and 80 percent of global sport betting is illegal.

(with inputs from AFP)