Allegations are 'very, very serious' - Key

By Dylan Cleaver

Prime Minister John Key said it would be "very, very serious'' if match fixing allegations against three former New Zealand cricketers were proved true.

"New Zealand is a country that sees itself as a very above-board, honest place both to do business and to play sport so it would be deeply concerning if this was factually correct.

Trio of cricketers under investigation revealed

"New Zealanders expect sport to be played fairly and they expect sports men and women to perform - in a way which upholds the ethics of their sport and not to be doing it to make money in an underhand way. It would be a very, very serious issue indeed if it is proved to be correct.''

The head of the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association has labeled this a "sad day" for the sport.

Heath Mills was speaking to the Herald in response to the revelations that three players are under ICC investigation for spot- and match-fixing.

Mills said he had been made aware of the investigation and knew the players involved, but was unable to divulge names because "these matters will likely be the subject of a judicial process".

He was conscious of the fact, however, that the longer the players' identities remained secret, the wider the net of suspicion was cast.

"We're not happy that other past players are coming under suspicion. We are working with New Zealand cricket to see what we can do about that," Mills said.

"We are also conscious of the fact NZC and the ICC [International Cricket Council] are bound by rules and regulations around confidentiality.

"In effect, the onus falls on those who are the subject of the investigation."

Earlier Ed Hawkins, who authored Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy: A Journey to the Corrupt Heart of Cricket's Underworld,tweeted "ACSU investigating New Zealand cricketers. On the illegal grapevine at least 4 names have cropped up regularly".

Mills was quick to point out that those investigated are not the tip of the iceberg.

"This is a sad day for all of us but people need to remember that 99.99 per cent of those playing and working in cricket are hard-working, dedicated and honest folk."

Mills said national sporting organisations, not just cricket, need to work harder to "ensure our people are safe when they travel to overseas environments".

- NZ Herald

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