Mushrooming of private leagues biggest threat: ACU chief

ICC reviewing regulations to keep the menace under check

September 24, 2018 09:12 pm | Updated 09:12 pm IST - DUBAI

Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Shahzad plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2018 match against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on September 17, 2018.

Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Shahzad plays a shot during the Asia Cup 2018 match against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on September 17, 2018.

Forty-eight hours after Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad reported an approach by an Indian bookie to rig matches during the Afghan Premier League, Ian Marshall, the chief of the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) Anti Corruption Unit (ACU), stressed that mushrooming of T20 and private leagues is the biggest threat to modern-day cricket.

“The corrupters love the explosion of T20 tournaments. These have given them a host of new opportunities. It’s great to have these events, great way to develop cricket in new regions, but they are also new opportunities for the corrupters,” Marshall said at the ICC headquarters on Monday.

“They can particularly like the T20s and, if they can, they will try and get into the franchises; they will try and get financial backing; they will try and gain influence over the T20 league.

“We have had several jobs we have dealt with related to T20 leagues. And if they can't get into a T20 league, how about designing their own corrupt tournament.

“Over the last couple of years, a host of private T20 leagues — and at times even shorter formats — have mushroomed across the globe, where corruption is rampant.

“Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, agreed it was time the administrators relooked at the criteria for officially recognising such events.

“Yes, we already are reviewing our regulations. The intention is to introduce minimum standards, not as a barrier to entry but simply as a mechanism to better control who is involved in these leagues, who is putting them on and minimise the risk of them being corrupt,” Richardson said.

Marshall explained the ACU had been adopting a two-pronged approach to deal with the menace of corruption ever since he took charge a year ago.

“Within the game, use education, use prevention, make the whole game resistant to these people who want to poison it. For those outside the game, make everything as possible within the law to disrupt their activities to keep the game right,” Marshall said.

In the last year, the ACU has investigated 32 cases of corrupt approaches. Five of these approaches have been to international captains.

Marshall underlined the need of corrupt elements to try and trap captains. “Corrupters love captains. We have had five captains approached in the last 12 months. Think back to some of the most famous corruption cases and you'll know the corrupters chase captains because the captain gets to control bowling changes, the approach, fielding changes, etc,” he said.

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