|Event:||ICC World Cup 2006/07|
DateLine: 12th June 2007
ICC Media Relese - 12 June 2007
The following is a statement by the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) Chairman Lord Condon in response to the announcement by the Jamaica Constabulary Force that the death of former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer on 18 March was due to natural causes:
The ICC welcomes the true facts of Bob Woolmer’s sad death being made public. It allows Bob’s family and friends and the Pakistan cricket team and Pakistan Cricket Board to understand what happened to him but it cannot undo the trauma and uncertainty they have had to endure over the past two and a half months.
It is to be hoped that those close to Bob can now get some closure although, sadly, that will not bring him back or be of any consolation following the loss.
Throughout the police investigation the ICC has given full support to the Jamaican authorities. Members of the ICC ACSU were based in Kingston during the first weeks of the inquiry.
Additionally, I spent a number of days in Kingston during which time I spoke to both the senior investigating officer and others involved in the inquiry.
From the outset, the ACSU counseled an open-minded approach to Bob's death as, based on their cumulative police experience and knowledge of the alleged crime scene, the death and the location had none of the obvious hallmarks of a murder and it remains a concern that the murder theory was so readily embraced.
There can be little doubt that the reputation of both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the game of cricket as a whole were unnecessarily tarnished as the theories about Bob's death became wilder and more bizarre with many of those theories suggesting a link to corruption and match-fixing.
Now that the truth has been established, hopefully some balance will be restored and the efforts the ICC has made to clean up the game will be recognised.
Cricket has had its problems with corruption over the past few years. No one hides from that fact. That was the reason behind the formation of the ACSU in 2000 and it has now been in operation for just less than seven years.
In that time the game has made great strides in dealing with the issues of corruption and match-fixing and anyone who does not acknowledge that fact is being disingenuous.
The ACSU is now regarded throughout the sports world as a model of world's best practice in how to deal with the issue of corruption within a sport. Indeed, other sports have sought cricket's insights into how the game has looked to overcome the issues that confronted it head-on through the 1990s and in the early part of this decade.
In terms of cricket's ongoing fight against the corruptors, the game is now certainly in a much healthier state than it was seven years ago thanks to a raft of measures that have been introduced. These include:
* A team of experienced investigators fully resourced by the ICC's Executive Board and able to examine fully any allegations of corruption
* Regular and ongoing education of players and officials from under-19 level upwards on the dangers of corruption and the entrapment methods employed by would-be corruptors
* Use of Regional Security Managers at the vast majority of international matches to act as both a visible deterrent to corrupt practices and also the eyes and ears of the ACSU on an ongoing basis
* Agreements and contacts with major betting exchanges, bookmakers, bookmakers' associations and government regulatory agencies throughout the world. The ACSU has entered into Memorandums of Understanding with these bodies to assist in identifying betting practices, trends and anomalies in betting patterns.
No one is suggesting for a moment that cricket can be complacent, that it has got this issue locked away and dealt with never to reappear. Indeed, many challenges still remain, especially the potential of so-called micro-fixing which involves betting on apparently minor incidents that may not affect the outcome of a match.
However, despite all the unfounded allegations made against the game during the past two and a half months, cricket is now at a stage where the public can feel confident when watching an international match that what they are seeing is a genuine contest unaffected by outside influences.
Finally, to those who suggest that corruption is still widespread throughout the game of cricket – and there have been plenty of people who have peddled such comments to anyone prepared to listen in the aftermath of Bob's unfortunate and untimely death – we have one clear message: put up or shut up.
If anyone has any evidence whatsoever of corrupt practices within the game of cricket then we invite you to come forward and pass that information on to the ACSU. You can do so in complete confidence and we will be happy to investigate those claims.
If you do not have such evidence then please, for the good of the game, let us now focus on events on the field and let us have cricket back in the headlines for all the right reasons.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2007 International Cricket Council)