Condon report released, fixing rife since ~~70s

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: World cricket remains in the grip of match-fixers who could resort to murder, kidnap and threats to keep the lid on the sport's greatest scandal, an official probe said Wednesday. The International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit (ACU) said match-fixing was rife even after life bans were imposed on three former captains - Hansie Cronje of South Africa, Mohammad Azharuddin of India and Salim Malik of Pakistan. However, the 35-page report, prepared by ACU chief Paul Condon and released on the ICC website (www.cricket.org) on Wednesday, did not name any cricketer involved in match-fixing. Condon's investigations revealed that officials and players knew the game was corrupt, but few people were willing to come forward to testify because they felt their lives could be in danger. "The most disturbing aspect of the tolerance of corruption is the fear that some people have expressed to me about their own personal safety or the safety of their families," the report said. "I have spoken to people who have been threatened and others who have alleged a murder and a kidnapping linked to cricket corruption. In order to respond to these anxieties I have interviewed some people away from their normal lifestyles," it said. "It became clear that many people within cricket had significant information about corruption within the game. Allegations in the public domain were only the tip of the iceberg," the report added. The report said an "insidious and corrosive form of fixing had taken hold on the game" after the 1970s. While Condon believes that the most blatant form of match-fixing has stopped since his unit began work six months ago, "there are indications that some players and others are still acting dishonestly and to the order of the bookies. "We have reasonable grounds for new investigations against a number of individuals. These allegations are not yet in the public domain," the report said. Condon said betting and fixing took place on various aspects of the game such as:

  • The outcome of the toss at the beginning of a match.
  • The end from which the fielding captain will elect to bowl.
  • A set number of wides, or no balls occurring in a designated over.
  • Players being placed in unfamiliar fielding positions.
  • Individual batsmen scoring fewer runs than their opposite numbers who batted first.
  • Batsmen being out at a specific point in their innings.
  • The total runs at which a batting captain will declare.
  • The timing of a declaration.
  • The total runs scored in a particular innings and particularly the total in the first innings of a one-day international.
The scandal broke two years ago when the New Delhi police stumbled on telephone conversations which implicated Cronje. The South African captain later admitted his guilt and was banned for life. Separate investigations by cricket authorities in India and Pakistan led to similar bans being imposed on Azharuddin and Malik and some other players. Condon criticised the ICC for not doing enough to nip match-fixing in the bud. "With the benefit of knowledge now in the public domain, a compelling case is made that the ICC and the individual cricket boards could and should have done more to deal with the problem of corruption at an earlier stage," he said. In 1994, the ICC and the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) covered up payments made by an Indian bookmaker called "John" to leading Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh. Both Waugh and Warne admitted taking the money and were fined by the ACB, but it persuaded ICC chief executive David Richards and then chairman Clyde Walcott not to disclose this to other members of the ICC. AFP

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