Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Lou Vincent banned from cricket for life

Lou Vincent.
Lou Vincent.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent has been banned from cricket for life after admitting breaching the ECB's anti-corruption rules.

Mr Vincent pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of the regulations in total, the ECB said.

Four breaches related to a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham in June 2008.

The remaining 14 charges related to two fixtures played at Hove in August 2011, a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 match and a Sussex v Kent CB40 match.

The ECB said Mr Vincent had accepted an agreed sanction of a life ban from all forms of cricket, in the form of concurrent life bans for each of the 11 offences which carried a life ban.

The terms of the ban, which required the approval of the ECB's independent Cricket Discipline Commission, will prevent him from playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by ECB, the ICC or any other National Cricket Federation.

ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: "This has been a complex case which has crossed different cricketing jurisdictions and required close collaboration and intelligence-sharing between both our own anti-corruption unit, other domestic boards and the ICC's ACSU.

"We are extremely pleased that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that an individual who repeatedly sought to involve others in corrupt activity for his own personal gain has accepted that his conduct warrants a lifetime ban from cricket.

"It once again highlights our resolve to keep cricket clean and rid the game of the tiny minority who seek to undermine the sport's integrity. "

'I am a cheat'

Becoming the first New Zealand professional sportsman to receive a life ban has put Lou Vincent in sporting hall of infamy.

Vincent has also confessed to fixing across in the Indian Cricket League, the 2012 T20 Champions League that was played in South Africa, and was recently banned for three years by Bangladesh cricket for not reporting an approach while playing for the Dhaka Gladiators in that country's T20 franchise competition.

Vincent, 35, has released a lengthy, from-the-heart statement in which he takes full responsibility for his actions.

"My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat," the statement starts.

"I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing.

"I have lived with this dark secret for many years, but just months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth.

"It's a truth that has rightly caused uproar and controversy in New Zealand and around the world.

"I have shamed my country. I have shamed my sport. I have shamed those close to me. For that I am not proud."

Vincent was one of three former New Zealand internationals that in December the Herald revealed were being investigated by the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit. Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Coaching dream shattered

The terms of the ban mean Vincent will not be allowed to earn a living from the sport and will not, in fact, be permitted to enter a ground while a match is being played.

His dream of one day coaching kids has been shattered.

"It is entirely my fault that I will never be able to stand in front of a game again. It is entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers," Vincent said.

"But it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing."

Vincent said it was up to the players themselves to police the game "because they are the ones that will ultimately lose out if they allow themselves to be used as pawns to make money.

"No one should ever be put in that position. And no one should ever allow themselves to forget what sport is about and let money rule their decisions."

Vincent acknowledged his vulnerabilities but said his battles with depression gave him zero excuses for his actions. He said he was always aware of the difference between right and wrong.

"Today is the day I offer my deepest apologies to the public and the cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff and all players past and present."

Vincent today begins the rest of his life; a life that for the first time does not and will not involve cricket in any way except memories.

Read the full statement from Lou Vincent:

My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat.

I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing.

I have lived with this dark secret for many years, but just months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth.

It's a truth that has rightly caused uproar and controversy in New Zealand and around the world.

I have shamed my country. I have shamed my sport. I have shamed those close to me. For that I am not proud.

I lost faith in myself and the game. I abused the game I love. I had to put things right.
Speaking out. Exposing the truth. Laying bare the things I have done wrong is the only way I can find to begin to put things right.

The time has come for me to now face them like a man and accept the consequences, whatever they may be.

I could not live with my wrongdoing any longer, and after meeting my future wife Susie, after learning what unconditional love really is, I felt strong enough to tell her what I'd done, and she has helped me take the painful steps to telling my parents, my wider family, and then the authorities.

I am proud of those I love. Especially my immediate family and friends. Their strength, support and forgiveness has enabled me to address some deep and uncomfortable issues in my life.

I can finally look my children in eyes and tell them that honesty is the best policy, even if it feels like the hardest thing to do at times.

I now believe in myself as a person again and do not wake up every morning hating myself.

Today is the day I offer my deepest apologies to the public and the cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff and all players past and present.

I apologise to the and thank the ACSU [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit] for their help and support, which is out there for all players and it has helped me a great deal. Chris Morris and his legal team, and all associations that have handled this sensitive situation with professionalism and respect.

The people who know me know I am vulnerable. But they also know I am not stupid and that I know what is right and what is wrong.

I do suffer from depression but it is absolutely no reason or excuse for all that I have done wrong.

I used to think mistakes were the actions of bad people. I now know even good people can make the worst of mistakes. My actions, I will regret for the rest of my life.

For sport to prosper, it is up to the players to police the game, because they are the ones that will ultimately lose out if they allow themselves to be used as pawns to make money.

No one should ever be put in that position. And no one should ever allow themselves to forget what sport is about and let money rule their decisions.

The decisions I made were wrong. Players must be better than that. Above reproach. For the fans. For the sport.

For the first time in a very long time I feel positive about the future because I am finally becoming the man I wanted to be. I have to face up to my wrongs to make them right.

I have kept my head down for too long now. This is my time to man up to my mistakes and today I can stand with a better conscience because I know I'm doing the right thing.

It is entirely my fault that I will never be able to stand in front of a game again. It is entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers.

But it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing. To do the right thing for themselves, for their families and friends, and for the sport they love.

I accept my punishment and I thank you for [reading] my statement.

- NZ Herald

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