ICC defends anti-corruption unit despite review into fixing
The International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chairman, Ronnie Flanagan, speaks during a press conference at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on September 3, 2010 - by Ben Stansall
A report in Britain's Daily Telegraph on Tuesday said the ACSU, which does not have the powers of a law-enforcement agency, would be the first "victim" of the restructuring of the ICC following a shake-up of the global governing body led by the 'big three' nations of India, Australia and England.
During its 14 years in existence, the ACSU -- reported to cost $5.5 million dollars (£3.25 million) per year to run -- has not been directly responsible for uncovering a major case of corruption at a time when cricket has been trying to combat the threat to its integrity posed by match and spot-fixing.
Now there are suggestions the unit, which is headed by former senior British police officer Ronnie Flanagan and employs seven regional around the world, as well as staff in the United Arab Emirates, will be replaced by investigation boards in individual countries as these are better able to liaise with national police forces.
However, ICC chief executive David Richards said Friday: "The suggestion that the ACSU might be failing in its duty to protect the game is entirely misplaced and inaccurate.
"It is important to emphasis that the review is only commencing, and, therefore, to draw any conclusions on the outcome of the review will be premature and detrimental to the working of such an important unit.
- 'Outstanding work' -
"The ICC ACSU remains a world leader in the fight against corruption in sport, and has done some outstanding work since its inception in 2000," the former South Africa wicketkeeper added.
Nevertheless, Richardson said a review was timely given the "risk of corruption" changing rapidly in recent years due to the increasing number of domestic Twenty20 cricket tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.
Last month, India's Supreme Court rejected N. Srinivasan's plea to reinstate him as India's cricket chief, saying he had effectively turned a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing in the IPL.
That case has called into question the plan to have Srinivasan head the revamped ICC from July.
The most high-profile cricket fixing scandal in recent years arose from a 'sting' operation carried out by now defunct British newspaper the News of the World in 2010 which led to the jailing of three Pakistan Test cricketers -- then captain Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer.
The Essex case involving another Pakistan cricketer, Danish Kaneria, who this week lost an action in London's High Court to have his life ban overturned, only came to light when a player reported an approach.
This led the England and Wales Cricket Board to set up its own anti-corruption unit under Chris Watts, a former Scotland yard detective.
Now the ECB set-up could serve as a model for other national boards.
The ACSU was set up by Lord Paul Condon, the former head of London's Metropolitan Police, in 2000 in response to the match-fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje, the late South Africa captain.