ICC inactive over match-fixing: Wisden

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Wisden attacked cricket's ruling body, the ICC, and officials from Australia and India for their inaction over the sport's match-fixing scandal, accusing them of being ''besotted by the opiate of their own importance''. In the 2001 edition of cricket's ''bible'', editor Graeme Wright said the ICC's years as a governing body had not been glorious. ''It is still perceived as little more than a talking shop, not always the sum of its fractious parts and impotent to act without the agreement of its member countries, with their own vested interests,'' the editorial said. The admission of former South African captain Hansie Cronje in April last year, following accusations by Indian police, that he took money from an Indian bookmaker triggered an avalanche of allegations and investigations of match-fixing worldwide. Wisden said the ICC's initial response to Cronje's admission was to resist calls for a worldwide inquiry into corruption. Wisden said that when the ICC set up its Anti-Corruption Unit, its powers were ''limited''. Wisden also had harsh words for Australian cricket officials for failing to reveal in 1995 that Mark Waugh and Shane Warne had admitted accepting money from a bookmaker. The incident was kept quiet until an Australian newspaper revealed it some years later. Wisden said Cronje and former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin may not have become involved with bookmakers if the Australian Cricket Board had gone public earlier. ''As it was, the sound of silence rang out loud and clear both to bookmakers and cricketers. The game's administrators were not going to interfere in their activities. ''It took the Indian police to throw some light on cricket's darker side,'' Wisden said. An official Indian investigation into match-fixing accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of being negligent in not investigating earlier reports of match-fixing. The BCCI was accused of perpetuating ''a system of self-aggrandisement'', the investigation said. ''It is not only in India, either,'' Wisden said. ''The men in clover become so besotted by the opiate of their importance that they lose the will to confront problems. ''The trappings of power become more important than the judicious exercise of the power.'' (c) Reuters Limited. Click here for Restrictions

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