London: A wide-ranging investigation into corruption in cricket has discovered match-fixing is still a problem in the sport, it was reported here on Saturday.
'The Times' newspaper said a probe carried out by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-graft chief Paul Condon will report next week that matches in cricket are still being rigged. The paper said matches played by Pakistan and New Zealand in the Gulf state of Sharjah and by Pakistan in New Zealand this year have come under severe scrutiny.
Allegations of match-rigging in Pakistan's One-day series against the New Zealanders surfaced following the tour. "The report will suggest that despite the banning from the game for life of prominent international cricketers and stringent new constraints, attempts to rig results for money may not have been wiped out," 'The Times' reported.
Condon, a former chief of London's police force, was saddled with the task of rooting out graft in cricket following the explosion of the "Cronje-gate" match- rigging scandal last year. World cricket was rocked after a mobile phone call, where South African captain Hansie Cronje discussed taking bribes to throw a game, was accidentally intercepted by police in New Delhi.
Cronje, Pakistan ace Salim Malik and Indian Test legend Mohammad Azharuddin were subsequently banned for life over the scandal.
'The Times' said Condon had acknowledged cricket would never be 100 per cent rid of dishonesty, but that the graft buster had aimed on reducing the problem to an "irreducible minimum" by the time of the 2003 World Cup.
Condon's report, which will be released on the Internet next week, will state there is a long way to go before his aim can be met, 'The Times' reported. No allegations are to be made against individuals, but Condon's report is expected to be highly critical of the way the ICC handled previous cases of suspected bribery in the sport.
The Australian Cricket Board will share the blame with the ICC for failing to investigate more vigorously the 1995 case involving Test stars Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, the paper said. Both players were fined for accepting money from bookmakers in return for information about teams, pitches and the weather.