ICC start Pakistan talk shop

THE Pakistan Task Team, a panel set up under Giles Clarke by the ICC to drag Pakistan cricket out of the mire after spot-fixing allegations, has underlined the zero-tolerance policy towards corruption.

The panel’s main activity has been to help educate players on corruption issues and to make reforms to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan. The ICC are taking a well-worn path and, while intentions remain good, it is easy to see Clarke’s group as another talk shop. In practical terms the cancer of corruption is extremely difficult to stamp out, especially while betting remains illegal in India, with unusual betting patterns impossible to monitor. In the meantime the ICC are having to rely on ‘messages’.

The game in Pakistan has been damaged by terrorism and by the corruption allegations against Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt, a captain with some serious explaining to do at the ICC hearing to be heard by Michael Beloff QC in Qatar on October 30-31. Amir and Butt are contesting their suspension by the ICC. The third player under a cloud, Mohammad Asif, decided to withdraw his appeal.

The provisional suspensions were imposed on the players in accordance with the ICC Anti-Corruption Code after they were charged with various offences under the code on September 2. The charges followed revelations by The News of the World newspaper and subsequent investigations by the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit into ‘spot-fixing’ allegations. Beloff will be considering only the suspensions and not the substantive charges laid against the players.

ECB chairman Clarke was joined in an ICC teleconference by members of his task team, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and the Board’s senior general manager Subhan Ahmed. The discussion, a process that followed a recent ICC board meeting in Dubai, included raising awareness of anti-corruption issues among international players, particularly those from Pakistan, and supporting the country’s urgent delivery of anti-corruption policies, processes and education.

The panel supported the Pakistan Board in reviewing its structures and making reforms necessary to restore confidence in the administration of the game in Pakistan, and the enforcing of the ICC’s zero-tolerance approach to protect the integrity of international cricket.

The PTT received an update on the agreed measures that the Pakistanis had already started to introduce. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “We are encouraged by the excellent progress reported and also the willingness of the Pakistan Cricket Board to embrace the ICC recommendations. However, we can never be complacent nor distracted in our determination to tackle corruption.

“Recognising that integrity is fundamental, the Board was unanimous and showed absolutely no compromise in taking steps to ensure the public retains confidence in the game.”

Lorgat said all 105 ICC members were advised to immediately consider and undertake the following actions:

>To remind all registered players, support personnel and member board officials about their responsibilities, the ICC’s clear stance on corruption, the need to abide by the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and that failure to take these measures could result in severe penalties.

>To review the adequacy of processes and procedures to protect against all threats of corruption (domestic or international) and, where necessary, introduce new measures which would include a domestic anti-corruption code that mirrors the ICC code.

>To review player contracts and introduce relevant clauses to ensure players comply with all relevant anti-corruption rules and regulations.

Lorgat added: “We have issued a broad advisory to every ICC Member about the need to root out corruption from our great sport. This advisory requests all international players and support personnel to sign a once-off declaration before participating in the next FTP match and/or ICC event. Such declaration is intended to serve as an important reminder of the spirit in which the game is meant to be played, the importance of its integrity and their roles and responsibilities in this regard.”

The task team meeting reminded the Pakistan Board of its agreement to encourage all its players to come forward and disclose to the Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit any relevant information which will be treated as strictly confidential.

Mr Lorgat said: “Every single player who cares about the game should step forward and help us to eradicate corruption from the game. I can assure that such disclosures will be treated in strict confidence.”

Pakistan Task Team:

Giles Clarke (England, ICC director), Peter Chingoka (Zimbabwe, ICC director), Haroon Lorgat (ICC chief executive), David Richardson (ICC general manager, cricket), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka, ICC chief match referee), Mike Brearley (England), Ramiz Raja (Pakistan).

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