ANALYSIS OF CORRUPTION IN CRICKET
61. Corruption in any aspect of life is caused by human weakness, greed and opportunity. In this section of the report I set out my analysis of when and how corruption developed in cricket. I describe the extent and causes of the problem and finally my concern that, although progress has been made, corruption still occurs.
62. At appendix B, I summarise some of the key formal inquiries into match fixing. They provide a valuable understanding of some of the chronology of corruption in cricket but none was able to provide an overview of the problem because of the understandable restrictions of the terms of reference to specific events, individuals or countries.
63. My unit is not similarly restricted and although we are relatively new we have been able to piece together a reasonably comprehensive picture of corruption in cricket. The picture that emerges is a depressing one for all genuine cricket supporters. However, this analysis also provides the opportunity to put in place a comprehensive package of reforms to meet the challenge.
The Seeds of Corruption
64. It has been suggested to me that the seeds of corruption in cricket were sown in the 1970s when county and club games in domestic tournaments, in England and other countries were allegedly fixed by teams to secure points and league positions. Players were not bribed with money but relied on mutual interest. If a match was of vital importance to one team and not to the other then an accommodation would be reached between the teams as to who would win. Similar arrangements would be made to secure bowling and batting points, if applicable. The movement of players around the world gave players from a number of countries experience of these 'friendly' fixed matches. As a result, in a number of matches the ethic of winning or losing on merit was replaced by a pragmatic arrangement to divide the points and/or agree in advance who would win.
65. There is some evidence to suggest these 'friendly' fixes took place but it is harder to prove they were the genesis of corruption for financial reasons linked to betting. My unit has received reports of episodic instances of match fixing in the early 1970's for betting purposes but so far these allegations are unsubstantiated.
The Emergence of Match Fixing and other Cricket Corruption for Betting Purposes
66. From the late 1970s onwards a more insidious and corrosive form of fixing took hold in the game. This involved a player or players under-performing so that the result of a match or occurrences and events within a match were determined and fixed in advance. This allowed bets to be placed with a certainty or high probability of winning. If a team won or lost a match in a dramatic reversal of form and expectation, as a result of corrupt under- performance, then the winnings from betting on such a fixed event were greatly enhanced. It was also possible for a player or players to under-perform at pre-determined points in a match for betting purposes and yet still go on to win the match.
67. Betting on cricket grew in volume dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the interaction of a number of issues.
68. In my discussions with colleagues in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India and with Indian Ministers they acknowledged the growth of unlawful betting on cricket in India and see resumption of international matches against Pakistan in 1978 as being a key stimulant for raising interest in betting on cricket.
69. Live television coverage of matches and the growth in the number of One Day Internationals (ODI's) created an environment in which it was possible to watch and bet on cricket almost every day of the year. The chart below gives an idea of the growth of One Day Internationals. Betting on cricket grew even more with the widespread availability of mobile phones.
70. Most of the betting was and remains outside the lawful and regulated betting industry. It is of course unlawful to bet in many countries and will remain so for religious and cultural reasons. The lawful betting industry around the world, whilst vulnerable to the bet on a fixed match, has a much stronger chance to monitor and detect these betting 'scams'. The lawful betting industry is regulated and often subject to money laundering regulations. This industry is also better placed through record keeping and analysis to detect individuals and events linked to cricket corruption.
71. It is the nature of unlawful betting that it is fragmented, secretive and long- term record keeping is anathema to those who are involved. Betting on corrupted matches flourished in this environment and the huge volume of betting hid the smaller number of bets on fixed events.
The Many Aspects of Corruption in Cricket
72. In some respects 'match fixing' is a misnomer to describe corruption in cricket. The inquiries summarised at appendix B have placed some aspects of cricket corruption in the public domain but the full range of cricket corruption transcends the limited revelations of those investigations.
73. As far as corruption on the part of players is concerned, the uninformed observer might assume this is straight-forward and involves players under- performing so that the opposing team wins and a betting coup takes place and the corrupt players are paid for their involvement. Whilst indeed this is 'match fixing' in its most serious and lucrative form, corruption in cricket has many manifestations because every single aspect of a match can be and is bet upon. As a result every aspect of a match is vulnerable to manipulation and fixing, normally through under-performance. Often these fixed and corrupt incidents within a match have little or no effect on the final outcome of the game and consequently are harder to detect. Nevertheless, the betting coup takes place and the corrupt participants receive payment for the part they have played. For ease of reference I tend to call this phenomenon 'occurrence fixing'.
74. My unit has received allegations from a number of different sources of the following being pre arranged or fixed in order to allow a betting coup to take place.
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
75. Several umpires interviewed by my unit have received approaches in dubious circumstances. With the benefit of hindsight, some umpires have realised that what they thought at the time to be an innocuous approach was actually the start of an attempt to corrupt them. Whilst allegations in respect of umpires focus largely on their favouring one team over another in their decisions, other aspects of their behaviour are sought to be fixed for betting purposes. Bizarre though it may seem, it is not uncommon for bets to be placed on the end at which a particular umpire will stand at the start of play. In a way betting on 'either/or' situations in cricket is equivalent to a red or black, odds or evens bet at roulette.
76. Allegations of groundsmen preparing pitches to suit home teams have been made for many years. Indeed players and others regard this as a legitimate hazard when touring. More contentious, however, is the practice of groundsmen, on payment from bookmakers, preparing pitches that will ensure a result. This is alleged to have happened after a succession of draws in a test series. Equally serious are the allegations that groundsmen have been bribed to interfere with a pitch overnight to assist a team for betting purposes.
77. Whilst corruption at the playing level is now well documented, equally serious allegations are emerging about individuals involved past and present in the administration of cricket. It is too early to form judgments about these allegations and the picture is confused by internecine struggles within individual countries for control of cricket. Also personal rivalries have undoubtedly led to smear campaigns. Nevertheless, the sums of money now coming into cricket centrally through the International Cricket Council and those generated by individual boards are large by any standards. The current corporate governance arrangements within cricket are inadequate for the task. Investigations will continue into alleged corruption in television rights contracts and related issues.
Mail Cricket Editor