Q+A-Cricket-Spot fixing latest threat to game's integrity

Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:41pm BST

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 By John Mehaffey
 LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Spot fixing has emerged as the
latest threat to the integrity of cricket after the match-fixing
scandal which rocked the game 10 years ago.
 British police arrested a 35-year-old man on Saturday on
suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers after a newspaper
report that Pakistan pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad
Asif had bowled three deliberate no-balls in the fourth test
against England at Lord's.
 
 WHAT IS SPOT-FIXING?
 Spot-fixing involves a player agreeing to perform to order
by pre-arrangement. For example, a bowler might deliberately
bowl consecutive wides in his second over or a batsman could
make sure he does not reach double figures.
 Twenty20 cricket is particularly susceptible because so much
happens so quickly that individual performances can soon be
forgotten or dismissed as inconsequential.
 Tim May, the chief executive of the international players'
union FICA, is one of several influential figures in the game
who believes that the number of Twenty20 matches now being
played could tempt players to take money from bookmakers in
return for spot fixing.
 
 WHO BENEFITS?
 Betting on cricket matches televised in the Indian
sub-continent is a hugely lucrative business. Fortunes can be
made if a gambler knows in advance what a particular bowler or
batsman is going to do. Bets can be placed on every delivery.
 Only betting on horse racing at trackside is allowed in
India but in practice around half of a market worth billions of
dollars is estimated to be illegal betting, mostly on cricket.
 
 WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE OF SPOT-FIXING?
 Rumours have abounded since the advent of the Indian Premier
League (IPL) two years ago although nobody has ever been
charged. During last year's Ashes tour of England an Australian
player reported that he had been approached by a suspected
illegal bookmaker in the team's London hotel.
 Former England captain Michael Atherton said in a newspaper
column earlier this year that one leading former international
had told him "categorically" that spot-fixing was a regular
occurrence.
 Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif told Reuters this year
that he knew of match-fixing in the now defunct Indian Cricket
League.
 
 WHAT WAS THE MATCH-FIXING SCANDAL?
 Three international captains Hansie Cronje (South Africa),
Salim Malik (Pakistan) and Mohammed Azharuddin (India) were
banned for life in 2000 for helping to influence the results of
matches.
 Match-fixing had become established in one-day cricket in
the 1990s and suspicion centred, in particular, on the one-day
tournaments staged at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
 As a result of the scandal the International Cricket Council
(ICC) founded its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to
monitor all international matches. The ACSU monitored the IPL
tournament in India this year but not the second edition in
South Africa last year because the Indian board thought the fee
charged by the ICC was too high.
 (Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story
email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)





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