Illingworth urges ICC to name fixers

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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London: Former England captain Ray Illingworth urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to name identified match-fixers following the release of the anti- corruption unit's match-fixing report on Wednesday. Illingworth said the report, made public on early Wednesday morning by Sir Paul Condon, chief of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, would have had a much bigger impact had it revealed the identities of suspected match-fixers. "As far as I'm concerned, until they start naming names it doesn't matter. Until they name the people involved it's pointless saying anything," said Illingworth, who captained England on 31 occasions between 1969 and 1973. "Unless they name names there's nothing that can be done about it. At the end of the day they're spending millions of dollars on the inquiry but they have got no names to show for it." Condon said in his report that cricket remained in the grip of match-fixers who could resort to murder, kidnap and threats to keep the lid on the sport's greatest scandal. Another former England captain, Mike Gatting, said that anyone found guilty of fixing matches should receive life bans. "I think if people are proven to have taken money to fix games they should be banned for life," he said. "A lot of work has gone into this report and until we can find grounds for doing something there is not a lot to do. It is sad the sport has been dragged through the mire." Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), agreed with Gatting. "I have said that my Board at the ECB will take a strong view if any of our players transgressed, he said after the release of Condon's findings. "My own view, and it might be thought to be strong, is that we would have life bans. You can't suspend people for six or nine months. They come back and the game has to do without them. "We have our own disciplinary committee here but it would be wrong to say it is not happening here, that it is in someone else's backyard. If it is happening here let us clear it up." The ECB chairman told the BBC that he was saddened by the thought that cricket has been plagued by corruption for the past 30 years. "It is a thorough report and initially goes back to the 1970s. It sets a scene of how things have developed in a very sad way for the game," he said. "I have always said when the first allegations came out it was the tip of the iceberg. It has got worse recently and Lord Condon has highlighted that." MacLaurin called on all-Test playing countries to join forces to rid the game of fraudulent activity. "Administrators have to be very strong and I would hope that all Test-playing nations would have a collective desire to clear up anyone who has transgressed in the past and is still playing," he said. "Clearly they should not go on playing. "Millions follow cricket and we cannot have it besmirched by anyone transgressing. The Indian Board has some strong decisions. Now it is up to all Test nations to clear it up and move on." Asked if he knew of any English players involved, MacLaurin said, "I do not know of any allegations against any England player. The only situation we dealt with was with Alec Stewart. I spoke with him and he denied being involved."

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