ICC act far beyond their jurisdiction

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Saturday, October 21, 2000, 16:00 [IST]
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"Let sleeping dogs lie. If you wake them up, they will bark their heads off," is an old English expression. And it is an Englishman who is in the forefront of arousing the hounds of St John's Wood, Lord's to be more precise, the home of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Having played a surprisingly passive role ever since the betting and match-fixing scandal hit international cricket, the ICC suddenly decided to come to grips with the problem, already tackled, or being tackled, by several countries.

At a two-day meeting held at Nairobi, the ICC decided to lord over everything that has been done so far by way of probes, criminal investigation and what have you. As if the farce of an oath of integrity taken by the members in London last May was not enough, the ICC have now come up with a questionnaire, which is incumbent upon every international player, official, umpire, match-referee, and even the ground staff, to answer in all earnestness and sign thereof.

The "form of declaration" is the new document that has been formulated by the ICC, as a last resort to making everyone connected with international cricket to come clean. The net has been spread far and wide and the only "regulars" not included in the mandatory list are the mediapersons.

Five leading questions have to be answered in their entirety and to the fullest satisfaction of the Code of Conduct Committee, headed by Lord Griffith.

The closing note of the "form of declaration" carries a warning in clear terms, which says "If you knowingly answer any of the questions incorrectly, or if you fail to tell the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC, of any change to your answer, you are liable to be disciplined by your Board and heavy penalties may apply.

In short, the five questions or rather the answers thereof, beg to ascertain whether cricketers, officials, umpires, match-referees and members of the ground-staff have ever been involved, either directly for their own personal gains, or indirectly, to benefit others.

The ICC ask and it is for such of the persons, mentioned above to answer whether they are themselves guilty of any of the five cardinal transgressions of their integrity, listed in the questionnaire. The "form of declaration" also carries a pledge for future good behaviour with reference to the same five questions.

Something similar has been included in the new Code of Conduct for players and officials drawn up by our own Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Such a form of duplication is, perhaps, inevitable. But what raises serious questions is whether the ICC have the right and the jurisdiction to demand such confessions from players, officials, umpires, match referees and ground staff?

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