Sri Lankan cricketers shown photos of fixers | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankan cricketers shown photos of fixers

Alex Marshall
Alex Marshall

The International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption head Alex Marshall has revealed that he showed Sri Lankan players the photographs of people he claimed were “corruptors” and due to his exposure he was able to extract what he called “new information”.

He made the revelation in an interview with the ESPNcricinfo website after the ICC laid charges on former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya over his failure to corporate in an investigation into corruption in cricket.

Q: What prompted the ACU (Anti Corruption Unit) heightening its presence and operations in Sri Lanka?

Because in some countries, and Sri Lanka is one where I am very concerned, the high number of reports that we are getting and the high number of investigations would indicate that corruption is in the system. Sri Lanka is the country where we have conducted the most investigations in the last 12 months with Zimbabwe a close second.

Corruption may be linked to organised crime. So we are very worried about the young men and women players, who are very vulnerable in a system that may have within it corruption.

Q: Recently the ACU held a special briefing with the teams ahead of the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka’s home series against England. Was there any specific purpose behind addressing both teams?

Firstly, it was not to do with the current series. During the briefing we showed names and pictures of active corruptors in cricket who were trying to get at players both in Sri Lanka and at tournaments elsewhere in the world.

So we have openly shared the current information of active corruptors. We have shown their pictures, given their names and details. This way we felt the players are better informed.

The exercise has already led to new information coming through from the teams.

Q: How many of these corruptors were shown to the teams?

We showed them six. There are probably 12-20 very active corruptors that we are currently monitoring.

Q: All men?

The pictures shown were all men, but there are a couple of women too involved in the whole picture.

Q: And are they all local?

In Sri Lanka it was both local and Indian corruptors. In most other parts of the world it is mostly corrupt Indian bookies.

Q: You also met the premier of Sri Lanka along with several other key officials. Can you expand on the purpose of that meeting?

We met the competent authority (in charge of Sri Lanka Cricket), the sports minister, the solicitor general (responsible for drafting new legislation) the Prime Minister and the President of Sri Lanka. The meetings with all these people were to give a description of what we see as the picture of corruption within Sri Lanka that is affecting cricket.

They have been very positive in wanting to work together to introduce new legislation in Sri Lanka as a starting point that would make match-fixing or approaches for match-fixing illegal. Without criminal law, if someone is outside cricket the ACU don’t have any sanctions. I will still call them in for an interview. I will still disrupt them. I will still publish their picture. I will still make life difficult for them with immigration and travel. But I haven’t got any powers that I can use to sanction. Whereas in countries like South Africa, England and Australia there are specific criminal offences of trying to do match-fixing or approach a player.

Q: So your investigations are not restricted to match-fixing and approaches made to players?

We are doing several investigations into various types of corrupt activities. The focus is really on the people. We are investigating several people in Sri Lanka connected to cricket - from inside and outside of cricket. These people could be current players, ex-players, administrators, senior officials or people outside the game.

Q: Did the ACU submit any names of people in its meetings with the Sri Lankan heads of State?

We never name people unless they are charged. Once charged we give out the basic detail and the real detail is given only after the person is charged by a tribunal. We did not name anybody. There was no list submitted as has been speculated. We absolutely did not submit any list.