MCC World Cricket committee wants life bans for cheats

(l-r) Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt
Amir, Asif and Butt received bans and jail sentences after being found guilty of corruption

Former England captain Mike Brearley believes that stopping corruption in the game is all but impossible, but that organisers should keep trying.

Brearley, speaking as chairman of the MCC World Cricket committee (MCCWCC), said: "The problem can be contained but probably not eradicated.

"They will devise new strategies to corrupt so we must remain vigilant."

The MCCWCC has called for life bans for captains, vice-captains and coaches found guilty of corruption.

In total, it has made 10 recommendations to help fight foul play, including anti-corruption clauses in playing contracts, making sure punishments at international level are mirrored at domestic level and "mystery shopper" operations.

The mystery shopper would be used to set up cricketers suspected of involvement with bookmakers with offers of illegal fixing and then prosecute them if they accepted.

"There is a ruthless, insidious and dangerous underworld where a lot of money can be made by gambling on cricket," warned Brearley.

"There are some very unpleasant people involved and the world's professional cricketers need to know that."

Former South African Test opener Barry Richards, one of Brearley's fellow committee members, added: "What's the alternative to fighting the cancer? Throw our arms in the air and give up?

"Way back in my era we used to say, 'What happened?' when something unusual happened. Now we say, 'What the hell's going on?'

"We desperately need to fight for the game's integrity."

Pakistan trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in November 2011 after being found guilty of conspiring to bowl deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test against England at Lord's in August 2010.

The three players were banned last February for a minimum of five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

But, while all three are appealing against their suspensions, former England captain Michael Vaughan has advocated that they should have been given lifetime bans.

As well as making recommendations to the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), the MCCWCC has urged world cricket's governing body to ensure uniformity on the implementation of the Decision Review System and to increase to 16 the number of teams participating in the Twenty20 World Cup, rather than the 12 that will compete in this year's tournament.

The MCCWCC was set up in 2006 as an independent voice in world cricket.

As well as Brearley, four other former England captains, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Gatting, Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart, are on the committee, which also boasts England coach Andy Flower, ex-Test umpire Steve Bucknor and current India Test batsman Rahul Dravid among its number.

The 10 anti-corruption recommendations in full:

1 - Lifetime bans for any captain, vice-captain or coach found guilty of corruption.

2 - Consider the removal of minimum sentences in the ICC's anti-corruption code.

3 - Education materials and punishments at international level should be mirrored at domestic level. These materials should be enhanced, multi-lingual and available in more player-friendly formats.

4 - The ACSU should work closely with players to establish trust and be transparent with its findings to show the cricketing world that its efforts to prevent corruption are working. The committee appreciates that transparency has to be balanced by the requirements of confidentiality.

5 - Young but established players, both international and domestic, and their captains, should be promoted as ambassadors of the Spirit of Cricket and role models who pledge to educate and protect other young players.

6 - Where not already in place, specific anti-corruption clauses should be included in players', officials', coaches' and administrators' contracts.

7 - The committee is keeping an open mind on the use of polygraphs, but for now does not recommend that their use be encouraged except as a possible route by which suspected players might attempt to exonerate themselves.

8 - "Mystery shopper" operations should be considered, preferably directed at somebody already suspected.

9 - Relevant authorities to explore any unexplained wealth of suspected players and each governing body should hold a gift register for its players.

10 - The ACSU to have an increased capacity and budget to be able to do its job thoroughly, including the analysis of all domestic and international televised matches.

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