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Andrew Alderson: Five ways ICC can lessen stench of scandal

Chris Cairns.
Chris Cairns.

The eruption of match-fixing allegations, many involving former New Zealand players, has begun to eclipse a triumphant summer for the national team.

The onus goes on the International Cricket Council to show the leadership to heal the game and enable fans to believe. Urgent action is required, with a World Cup to be co-hosted by New Zealand next February and March.

Here are five ways the ICC can do that through its independent anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).

1 Boost ACSU staff numbers. There are only a handful of permanent employees - a blessing for those swindling the system and defrauding fans. The ICC tots up big revenue from showcase events such as the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy. The ACSU needs to be an investment priority.

2 Fast-track the investigation. Let's see energy and commitment for resolving the allegations, rather than the current quagmire.

3 Interview Chris Cairns. He's been willing to involve himself in the investigation throughout.

It's time to meet that challenge, otherwise the "trial by media" will continue. As lawyer James Wilson noted on a British legal blog: "If Cairns is innocent, he has been disgracefully traduced. If Cairns is guilty, he has been denied the due process that is the right of all in a free society under the Rule of Law. Either way, his chance of receiving a fair trial with the presumption of innocence has been reduced."

4 At the risk of being hand-wringingly liberal, is an amnesty period an option?

Throwing players in jail will be cathartic for those who feel cheated by cricket's version of WWE wrestling, but it will not address the core problem - gangsters further up the illegal gambling chain dissolve into the ether once pawns are captured.

5 It's one thing to have a match-fixing hotline on dressing room walls where phones are banned.

Perhaps investigate employing anti-corruption technology like that trialled by Finnish professional football over the past year.

The so-called Players Red Button app means players can dial anonymously on their smartphone and the message goes to a security firm, which investigates it. Players do not have to identify themselves in the process.

- NZ Herald

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Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Andrew writes and broadcasts on cricket and the Olympic disciplines for NZME's print, digital, video and radio platforms. His most recent project followed New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2015 northern summer. He has attended four cricket World Cups, three Olympics and regularly works as a correspondent overseas.

Read more by Andrew Alderson

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