Since the inception of the game, there have been many match-fixing cases which have left a blot on the gentleman’s game. In the wake of such incidents, Sri Lanka criminalised match-fixing last year and became the first major Test-playing nation in South Asia to do so, with punishments including a 10-year prison sentence. However, India, regarded as one of the most famous cricketing nations, is yet to criminalise match-fixing.
Steve Richardson, ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit’s co-ordinator of investigations, has said that a match-fixing law would be the ‘single-most-effective thing’ to protect the game from corrupt practices like match-fixing.
India has got two major global events lined up–T20 World Cup 2021 and ODI World Cup 2023. According to Steve, such events are most attractive to fixers to operate. Hence, to protect the game from corruptors, the match-fixing legislation will be a ‘game-changer’ in India.
We will do everything to disrupt the corrupters: Steve Richardson
“India has got two ICC global events coming up: the T20 World Cup (in 2021) and the World Cup in 2023. At the moment with no legislation in place, we’ll have good relations with Indian police, but they are operating with one hand tied behind their back.
We will do everything we can to disrupt the corrupters. And we do, we make life very, very difficult for them as far and as much as we can to stop them from operating freely,” said Richardson as quoted by India Today.
“But the legislation would be a game-changer in India. We have currently just under 50 investigations. The majority of those have links back to corruptors in India. So it would be the single-most-effective thing to happen in terms of protecting sport if India introduces match-fixing legislation,” he added.
Richardson also revealed that he could actually name at least eight names who have been trying to fix matches. Hence, he feels the lack of legislative framework leaves the Indian police hapless.
“I could actually deliver to the Indian police or the Indian government now at least eight names of people who are what I would term serial offenders, constantly approaching players to try and get them to fix matches,” said Richardson.
“At the moment with the lack of legislative framework in India it is very limited what the police can do, and to that extent, they have my great sympathy because they try as professionally and hard as they can to make the existing legislation work, but the reality is it wasn’t framed with sports corruption in mind,” he added.
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