Lorgat confident of corruption-free World Cup

Updated: Feb 07, 2011, 21:01 PM IST

Abu Dhabi: International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat has exuded confidence that the forthcoming World Cup will be a corruption-free event following punishments handed out to three Pakistan players for involvement in spot fixing.

The controversy had cast a shadow over the build-up to the game’s flagship event but Lorgat said that corruption will not be part of the tournament which will be hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 to April 2.

“I am confident (the World Cup will be free from corruption] for two reasons,” Lorgat said.

“The main one is that the vast majority of players are honest players. They do play the game in the spirit that it should be played. They are not seeking to make gains out of untoward means.

“Secondly, we are alive to what could come to the fore in terms of corruption. We have measures in place, and people forget we had been tracking this long before the ‘News of the World’ had broken the story.

“I am satisfied we will have measures in place at the World Cup. We will increase capacity because we realise things do change,” Lorgat was quoted as saying by ‘The National’.

An ICC Anti-Corruption tribunal had on Saturday banned former captain Salman Butt for 10 years, with five years of suspended sentence, Mohammad Asif for seven years with two years suspension and Mohammad Amir for five years.

The tribunal, chaired by QC Michael Beloff, found the three Pakistan players guilty of charges relating to spot fixing at the Lord’s Test match between England and Pakistan in August last year.

In addition, Butt was also found guilty of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code by failing to report an offer made to him by Mazhar Majeed to engage in corrupt activity during the Oval Test during that series.

Lorgat said the ICC had increased the number of staff detailed to police corruption in the game since the scandal broke in August, and that they were now “more vigilant around leads we pick up”.

He also revealed that the ICC has had discussions about recommending the Indian government to legalise gambling in sport.

The illegal gambling industry in Asia has been estimated to be worth as much as USD 450 billion per year, the newspaper reported.

“I agree with the notion that if it is regulated it is a lot better than if it is not regulated,” he said. “We have made inquiries and these are the things we are working towards.”

Lorgat asserted that the ban imposed on the tainted trio were based on solid proof and hoped it would act as deterrent for those who dare to tarnish the image of the game.

“I think it would take someone very brave not to take heed of what has happened,” he said.

“I don’t think these punishments are lenient by any stretch of the imagination. In legal terms, you have to be proportionate when you met out punishment. We must distinguish between match fixing and spot fixing.”

“This is a very experienced group of judges. They have enormous experience and expertise and they are independent. They have applied their minds and decided on what is a proportionate sanction,” he said.