Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Tough match-fixing penalties on cards under new law

Prime Minister John Key thinks the match-fixing investigation will not taint "New Zealand as a whole". Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister John Key thinks the match-fixing investigation will not taint "New Zealand as a whole". Photo / Mark Mitchell

New match-fixing charges are being pushed through by the Government before the Cricket World Cup.

The legislation, introduced by Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully earlier this month, would introduce a maximum sentence of seven years' jail for New Zealand athletes or officials who deliberately influenced an event for betting purposes.

The Government was concerned about the holes in New Zealand law in relation to match-fixing and spot-fixing, especially because this country was hosting two major international sporting events next year, the Cricket World Cup and under-20 Football World Cup.

At present, athletes can be sanctioned by sporting bodies for these activities, but not charged with a crime.

In order to get the anti-corruption measures passed in time for two major events, the bill will have a narrow focus - it will only introduce an offence for improperly manipulating a sports event.

New Zealand authorities will be able to prosecute if any of the match-fixing process - a discussion, a transaction, or the actual game - took place in New Zealand. If a player put their betting earnings in a New Zealand bank account, they could also be liable for prosecution. Match-fixing by a New Zealander, which took place entirely in a foreign country, would not be captured by the new bill.

The legislation would not criminalise a player for using inside information for betting, or for failing to disclose approaches by a person wanting to fix a game.

These activities would, however, be against the rules in a new corruption and match-fixing code which was not legally binding.

Asked about the match-fixing investigation yesterday, Prime Minister John Key said he thought the investigation would reflect badly on the individuals involved, but would not taint New Zealand sport "or New Zealand as a whole".

nzherald.co.nz
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- NZ Herald

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