Match fixing is life threatening, says Rice

Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 14:42 PM IST

London: The menace of match-fixing is life threatening and it`s time the ICC steps in and take stringent action to wipe out the menace for once and all, feels former South Africa captain Clive Rice.

Match-fixing is so rife in international cricket these days that it`s only a matter of time before a player, coach or an umpire paid with their life, Rice said today.

"These mafia betting syndicates do not stop at anything and they do not care who gets in their way," Rice was quoted as saying in the "Courier Mail".

"People have been murdered because of it in the past and it could happen again unless the ICC do something about it."

To permanently eradicate the menace, Rice felt, the ICC should bring in reforms and enforce strict policing on players.

"Players have to be told there will now be undercover officials trying to trap them," Rice said from his Johannesburg home.

"They won`t know whether they are dealing with a bookmaker or an undercover official."

Rice, 61, suspects the role of mafia betting syndicates in the mysterious deaths of Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer -- both close friends of Rice.

Cronje died in a plane crash in 2002, two years after being banned for his role in a match-fixing scandal, while late Pakistan coach Woolmer was found dead in a Jamaican hotel room, following his team`s shocking defeat to Ireland in the 2007 World Cup.

Rice said the latest allegations of Pakistani players` involvement in spot-fixing before the Lord`s Test did not surprise him.

"My first response was: `What`s new?` Once a player becomes involved with these bookmakers and the match-fixing, they can never escape. You`re in it for life. The ICC needs to take a stronger stand and let players know if you do this you`re out."

Rice also felt that if corruption in international cricket is not tackled, the sport will suffer in terms of credibility, sponsors and television coverage.

PTI