ICC chief executive David Richardson has reacted strongly against allegations of corruption in cricket, but promises that the ICC is up for the fight.
Richardson has expressed his concern that ‘criminals’ are ‘swanning around’ cricket, with players and leagues in their crosshairs. Of major concern for the ICC is Test cricket, which Richardson believes is at ‘high risk’ of being targeted by corrupt elements, but the former Proteas wicketkeeper also cautioned against the potential for these elements to infiltrate domestic cricket and even cricket at junior levels.
Richardson was commenting in the light of the recently broadcast spot-fixing documentary by Al Jazeera, adding that it was a ‘constant battle’ to repel these elements who, he fears, are here to stay.
‘Because we have hardened the target at the top level they are now going to focus on junior levels of cricket or other avenues such curators and groundsmen,’ said Richardson at a launch to mark the one-year countdown to the 2019 Cricket World Cup. ‘We know what the problem is. It is going to be a constant battle. We can’t let up. We’ll be in it for the long term.’
He added that Test cricket ‘is as high a risk, but we’ve got the mitigating measures in place to make sure that it cannot have any impact. And, yes, it would be very surprising if international cricketers were able to be got to. And because that target has been hardened, these guys are now trying to create their own leagues, at a much lower level, and the danger is they will start going to domestic tournaments and leagues that are televised.’
Richardson also responded to questions about allegations that ICC officials had been compromised or were viewed by fixers ‘corruptible’.
‘At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that is the case, but one of the allegations that have been made and we will look at it. If your own officials, hired to do the job of protecting the integrity of cricket, are compromised in any way obviously that is a concern. There is no evidence to suggest at this stage that is the case,’ said Richardson.