Johannesburg: Chief of International Cricket Council's Anti-corruption Unit Paul Condon on Wednesday said despite the efforts of the game's governing body, match- fixers were still active in the game, and so were several tainted players. "Sadly, there are some international players still involved in cricket who probably shouldn't be playing. Those few have done things that have done neither themselves, nor cricket proud," said Condon, who would step down from his post after the on- going World Cup in South Africa.
Claiming that the current championship was the cleanest ever, Condon said that even during the ICC Champions Trophy in Colombo last year suspects had tried to bribe players. "To be brutally honest, we can say with confidence that because of the contacts and informants we have in place, this is the first clean World Cup ever. "I don't think the average cricket lover and watcher realise how sinister and deep this thing went.
"We were able to deter a lot of would-be fixers who targeted the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka last year. They were able to travel freely to the last World Cup in 1999 in England. This time, we were able to put together a list of those that threatened the World Cup and authorities have been alerted," Condon was quoted as saying by an Australian website.
Condon said five regional corruption officers working in conjunction with international intelligence agencies made it possible for the organisers of the mega event to identify 101 "undesirable" elements who would be denied entry into South Africa during the tournament. "It's a constant battle between us and them. The sums of money that can be made through illegal gambling are so huge it isn't going to go away. But we work with police and law enforcement agencies around the world, and to date, it seems to be working well," Condon said.
He said the problem existed not only in the Indian sub-continent, but also throughout the world, and added that bookies could very well bounce back into their act of luring cricketers. "It is grossly unfair to lay match-fixing charges on the Indian subcontinent. There are still corruptors around the world who would be back into cricket in a second if they were given a chance." "At some stage, this investigation has involved every continent. The spurn of corruption was worldwide." The anti-corruption chief said several bookmakers with links to cricket have been murdered in India and the United Arab Emirates, highlighting the dangerous path the corrupt cricketers had taken over the years.
"It surprised us just how serious the link was between match-fixing and organised crime. We've been working closely with police in the United Arab Emirates on a murder in Dubai of a man who was a major player in cricket gambling in the past. "His murder was not related to match-fixing, but we were able to give the Dubai police information on another murder in India that may be linked. The involvement of organised crime is huge."