Cricketer Vincent banned for life for match-fixing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) "My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat."

With those words, ex-New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent opened a video statement divulging the "dark secret" that he had been involved in fixing matches in 12 separate competitions across five countries, including in English county cricket, the Indian Cricket League and the 2012 Champions Trophy.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced later Tuesday it had banned Vincent for life.

The 35-year-old New Zealander, who played 23 tests and more than 100 limited-overs internationals, said his actions had "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," he said. "For that I am not proud."

"I lost faith in myself and the game," he added. "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."

Vincent pleaded guilty to 18 match-fixing or spot-fixing charges involving matches he played for English counties Lancashire in 2008 and Durham in 2011.

Eleven of the 18 offences carried life bans.

The ban prevents Vincent from playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket sanctioned by the ECB, the International Cricket Council or any other national cricket federation.

He had previously been banned for three years by Bangladesh for not reporting an approach to fix matches while playing in that country's Twenty20 league.

"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," he said.

"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."

Vincent's confessions to the ICC led many to believe he had agreed a plea bargain, but he insisted he sought no favors and accepted the life ban.

He said the moment arrived when he "could not live with my wrongdoing any longer."

"I can finally look my children in the eyes and tell them that honesty is the best policy, even if it feels like the hardest thing to do at times," he said. "I now believe in myself as a person again and do not wake up every morning hating myself."

ECB chief executive David Collier said it was a complex case that required collaboration between English cricket's anti-corruption unit, domestic boards in other countries, and the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

"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," Collier said.

Cases of match fixing are nothing new in cricket. In a previous case, three Pakistan international players were banned and served jail time in England for spot fixing during a test match against England in 2010.

Salman Butt and teammates Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed and banned for a minimum of five years in 2010 by the International Cricket Council for bowling deliberate no-balls during the match. Butt was captain for the match.

An investigation into spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League is ongoing after three players were arrested last year.

Test player Shantakumaran Sreesanth and his Rajasthan teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan have been provisionally suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India after their arrest for spot-fixing, which involves performing in a pre-determined way at set times for the benefit of gamblers.

Vincent said he had suffered from depression but that did not excuse his actions. He added that players must be a bulwark against corruption.

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

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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