International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-corruption unit coordinator Steve Richardson believes making match-fixing a criminal offence will be a game-changer in India as according to him, majority of the current investigations have links to the country.
Richardson believes that such practices could rise in the coming years when India host two big-ticket ICC events — T20 World Cup in 2021 and World Cup in 2023.
“India has got two ICC global events coming up: the T20 World Cup and the World Cup in 2023,” Richardson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricifo.
“At the moment with no legislation in place, we’ll have good relations with Indian police, but they are operating with one hand tied behind their back.
“We will do everything we can to disrupt the corruptors. And we do, we make life very, very difficult for them as far and as much as we can to stop them from operating freely.”
In November 2019, Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to pass a law against offences related to match-fixing, so apart from a fine, a player could also land himself in jail for participating in corrupt practices. There is, however, no such law in India yet.
“The legislation would be a game-changer in India. We have currently just under 50 investigations. The majority of those have links back to corruptors in India,” he said.
“So it would be the single-most-effective thing to happen in terms of protecting sport if India introduces match-fixing legislation.”
Richardson also explained how their work is hindered considering there is no legislation in place related to match-fixing offences in India.
“I could actually deliver to the Indian police or the Indian government now at least eight names of people who are what I would term serial offenders, constantly approaching players to try and get them to fix matches,” Richardson said.
“At the moment with the lack of legislative framework in India it is very limited what the police can do, and to that extent they have my great sympathy because they try as professionally and hard as they can to make the existing legislation work, but the reality is it wasn’t framed with sports corruption in mind.”