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Waugh issue can become a legal battle: ACA

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Brisbane: Any attempt to punish Mark Waugh for alleged corruption could become a legal minefield, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) warned on Wednesday.While Waugh protests his innocence on the renewed claim he was involved with an Indian bookmaker, the ACA said problems could confront the Australian Cricket Board (ACB).Waugh's reputation has been sullied since an Indian bookmaker claimed three weeks ago that he gave the Australian batsman $ 20,000 for information on match, pitch and weather conditions.Waugh denied he received that amount, insisting he took $ 4,000 for a deal in 1994, which was exposed two years ago. The International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption unit is investigating the claims to decide whether the allegation refers to the exposed deal or a separate matter.But if evidence contradicts Waugh's denials, the ACB could face problems punishing its player. Hypothetically, Waugh accepted money before such a deal was deemed illegal by cricketing Boards.Only since last year have players been forced to sign declarations that they will not be involved in any corrupt conduct. Players could take legal action if they were to be punished by their Boards for incidents prior to those declarations, the ACA said."I'm sure players would seek protection from legal circles (if such a problem arose)," ACA chief executive Tim May said on Wednesday. "It is their job and their vocation and if something wasn't a crime at that particular time then he should able to ply his trade. It's an incredibly, incredibly complicated issue."The players' union said if a player took legal action, a national cricket Board could be forced into court to defend a punishment, which may have questionable legal grounds.Any potential action against Waugh could be different because he has already been secretly fined by the ACB and forced to give evidence under oath at two inquiries.Waugh was docked $ 10,000 dollars by the ACB in 1995 and recently said he had nothing more to add to evidence he gave at the inquiries. May said the legal issue had been jointly raised by the ACA and the ACB and he was so far satisfied with the follow-up."There are some concerns in that regard but I believe that the ACB and the ICC are working closely to determine the legal position," May said. ACB chief executive Malcolm Speed was unavailable for comment late on Wednesday.AFP

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