Mumbai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has put in place checks and balances to eliminate corruption during the upcoming World T20 Championship starting in two days’ time in the country, said the world governing body’s Anti-Corruption Unit’s chairman, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, on Sunday. (Click here for latest Cricket stories)
Saying that like in the past major ICC events, a 24-hour tournament-specific hotline has been set up to report on “corrupt approaches” by the players and others, Sir Flanagan also cautioned that due to human nature it may not be entirely possible to root out the menace.
“There are 58 games, for men and women in the World T20 Championships which, we hope, will be an unforgettable experience. My priority is that at the end of the tournament we will be talking about cricket and the unforgettable experience and not, I hope, about corruption,” said the ICC official at a media conference here. (ICC World Twenty20 2016 – Dates, Venues, History, Groups)
“Our activity is designed to prevent corruption, to disrupt activities of those who try to corrupt the game. We engage in education programme for players, support staff, match officials (etcetera) and tell them they must report any suspicious approach made to them and that if they fail to report such approaches to them they commit an offence within the parameters of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption code.
“We give them a little booklet to fit into their wallet which also has hotline numbers to contact us at any time. We have a tournament-specific 24-hour hotline and another hotline to our office in Dubai. Last year there were 450 reports and we take them all seriously. They range across all spectrum but we need concrete intelligence to act upon and not gossips.
“Human nature is such that it may not be possible to totally eliminate these corrupters. What we seek to do is to make cricket a very difficult environment to corrupt,” said Sir Flanagan.
On the hotline set up by the ICC, Sir Flanagan said, “I am talking about two different hotlines…there is a hotline for this tournament (ICC World T20) which is a mobile phone of one of anti-corruption officers and he has been directed that phone will be on 24×7 and that’s something we did at the last World Cup (2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and NZ) and that’s something we do at major tournaments.
“In addition to that, we have a hotline that goes back to the office in Dubai. So when the tournament is over and somebody comes by some information they like to pass on, there this is the hotline they can dial on our website. We give it to all the players, support staff, officials. They carry it in wallets just like cards. Even if the office in Dubai is not manned, there would be a recorded message,” he explained.
Sir Flanagan also revealed that the anti-corruption unit has recently come across an instance where an unnamed team’s players were intending to indulge in corrupt practices but they were aborted by the ICC’s intervention.
“Quite recently, we had reason to believe that members of a particular team had intentions to manipulate the game in forthcoming matches. This was an international team, but I am not going to give any details. The case is still under our investigation, so the individuals we believe had intention to manipulate, to facilitate betting on those attempts.”
“Barring in mind that we exist to prevent corruption, we decided in this particular case to intervene. We would (now) bring together the entire squad, focus on individuals whom we suspected. We would remind them and the entire squad of all the responsibilities.
“I am certain that our action in that particular case did indeed avert and prevent the intention of just one or two individuals. We have taken action against those individuals and we will be taking further action. These are concrete examples of action we take place based on intelligence. We have averted, prevented intention of bad people to corrupt the game,” he elaborated.