ICC pondered mystery shopper

2011-05-11 21:12
ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat (File)

London - International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has considered the use of 'sting' operations to trap players prepared to fix matches.

The South African administrator said the use of a "mystery shopper" could help weed out possible fixers as the global governing body tries to eradicate corruption from top-flight international cricket.

"I thought when this issue came up last year that perhaps we could have a 'mystery shopper'," Lorgat told the BBC's Hardtalk programme.

"In other words, some people posing as bookmakers approach players and see if those players report along with our codes of conduct."

However, Lorgat admitted the proposal had met with strong resistance.

"We would have to get the players' federations consenting to it and they of course opposed it and were not happy, they considered it a form of entrapment," he said.

Another plan would give the ICC access to players' bank accounts and assets so that they could be monitored, but Lorgat conceded that had less chance of being enacted than his 'sting' scheme.

"It is a bit more complex than that, there are human rights issues and legalities to understand properly," he said.

Three memmbers of the Pakistan team - former Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - were all bannned by the ICC for a minimum of five years each for their involvement in a spot-fixing scam during last year's tour of England.

The trio now face criminal prosecution in England.

But the scandal, which involved the bowling of deliberate no-balls during the Lord's Test, only came to light as a result of a 'sting' operation carried out by Britain's News of the World tabloid.

Many pundits said the fact it took a newspaper, rather than the ICC's own anti-corruption and security unit, to expose the affair was an embarrassment for the global governing body.

That was a point the ICC denied at the time but Lorgat told the BBC: "We are doing a review of our whole process and all of our systems right now.

"We have engaged an independent firm to conduct that review and I'm hopeful that some constructive recommendations will come up that will enhance or improve the way we are currently tackling the issue."

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