The problem of match fixing continues to haunt both international and domestic cricket all over the world; the International Cricket Council (ICC) aims to stamp out the evils of match fixing. The ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) has its hands full as match fixers have become more sophisticated in their approach to corrupt the game and the cricketers who play the game.
India Urged To Criminalize Match Fixing
Steve Richardson, who coordinates ICC ACU investigations, believes that it is up to India to lead the way and stamp out match fixing. Richardson thinks it is time for India to pass a law that would criminalize match fixing. The BCCI is the richest cricketing body in world cricket; it has a massive say in the game. The BCCI does not always see eye to eye with the ICC but this time around it appears the two boards are in agreement.
BCCI ACU head Ajit Singh has a tough job to do is match fixing in India cricket has reared its head over the last decade and tarnished the game. Singh supports Richardson’s decision and and need for a very strong law; match fixers would then know there are harsh consequences.
Sri Lanka is so far the only cricketing nation that has passed a law to criminalize match fixing. The law was passed in 2019 after the ICC ACU and the government of Sri Lanka worked together to draft and implement this law which hands out a 10 year jail sentence to those involved.
Match Fixers Not Threatened In India
Richardson and Singh shared their thoughts on match fixing and solutions to stop it at a panel discussion that took place in India in June 2020. The ICC ACU is currently handling close to 50 incidents and the majority of them have ties to India. Richardson believes that the BCCI and the Indian government need to quickly work together and pass a match fixing law.
India will host two major ICC tournaments in the coming year. The first will be the T20 World Cup that takes place in 2021 followed by the ICC World Cup in 2023. Given how big cricket is in India and how much money is poured into the sport, it is a given that match fixers will look to target both of these events.
IPL In The Spot
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has continued to be a target for match fixers each season and the match fixing scandal that saw the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals suspended for two years is proof of how badly Indian cricket has suffered due to fixing.
The ICC ACU is working together with the Indian police but claim that without a match fixing law to back their efforts, the police are working with one hand tied behind their backs.
Richardson claimed that he had the names of 8 to 10 serial match fixers who roam around freely in India, approach players and try to fix games on a regular basis. He said he knew that even if he shared these names with the Indian police, it would not have much of an impact as there are no stringent laws to back the police and prosecute these serial offenders.
Singh pointed out that if you bet 500 rupees on a game, it was illegal since betting is illegal in India. However, you could approach a player and offer to pay them $30,000 for fixing a game and that was not legal since there were no laws against this.