Transparency International – an organisation who look to report on, highlight and tackle corruption across many areas (not just sport) – have today published a report entitled “Fair play – Strengthening integrity and transparency in cricket”.
The report looks predominantly at what can be done to strengthen the governance structures in International cricket to further reduce the risk of fixing and corruption. It recognises that a great deal of good work has already been done by individual boards and by the ICC but makes some recommendations for additional structure changes and activities which they believe would help.
None of what they recommendation is earth-shatteringly radical but there are a couple of sensible suggestions in there
They make some clear recommendations to the ICC, that they should
- publish the minutes/decisions of Board and committee meetings in full
- publish more clearly their anti-corruption programmes and procedures (this one seems a bit harsh – they are fairly well publicised even if they aren’t always adhered to)
- increase the independence of the Board and committees, by achieving a balance of representation, in particular to introduce independent non-executive directors
In relation to Domestic cricket and individual Boards
The report rightly highlights that the governance and transparency of ICC member boards varies greatly and accountability is in many cases very poor. The report recommends that the ICC make membership of the ICC contingent on meeting a set of universal governance standards and that they should publish what constitutes best practice for a national cricket board.
This recommendation is clearly a decent aspiration but is a bit naive – it isn’t anywhere near as simple as getting the ICC to publish best practice and asking member Boards to follow that. And, of course, the most important point being that the ICC isn’t a separate entity away from the member Boards – it’s made up of the member Boards and if those Boards who wield the most power don’t wish to be transparent or change their Governance – or for financial or Political reasons simply aren’t able to – the ICC have limited or no powers of recourse.
Combating the threat to players and officials
The report asserts that whilst the ICC has made significant efforts through the Anti-corruption and Security unit, domestic authorities publish little or no information on their training, awareness raising and mentoring programmes. It does recognise that there may be good reason to keep information on training of players or officials confidential but stats that as a minimum both the ICC and individual boards should publish broad information on the number of cricketers and officials who have received anti-corruption training (those under the ECB auspices this will be all of them!), the qualifications of those delivering the training and some feedback from those who have been trained.
This section of the report reads like it is very much aimed not at the ECB or Cricket Australia who have very clear training programmes in place for their players and officials at all levels and the report is flawed in that it doesn’t make clear or name those boards who are already undertaking best practice – I imagine the ECB would be held up as the exemplar in this field. An enormous amount of work is done by the ECB and the PCA.
The role of private organisations and tournaments
It is in this area that those undertaking this report should have focused more effort on – this is the area of greatest risk in my opinion.
The report highlights the increased corruption risk with the rise of privately financed tournaments and rightly recognises the risks associated with players becoming “freelance” and therefore not under the auspices of any board.
It naively recommends that the ICC should set out clear international standards for how privately run tournaments are regulated – which grossly over estimates the amount of power or influence the ICC has over these things.
It does recommend that when players retire and become freelance T20 players and are no longer under the jurisdiction of their home board that they become officially recognised as “ICC players under the jurisdiction of the ICC and subject to regulation and supervision by the ICC”. There is some merit in this recommendation although it would need developing much more clearly before it could be implemented.
The report then sets out an action plan which Transparency International believes should be the framework fortaking forward anti-corruption work across cricket.
This includes a recommendation for clear policies on whistleblower protection and that the iCC should create and maintain registers of interests and introduce safeguards against conflicts of interests occurring – and this should be more than simply senior staff and officials contacting the ethics officer as is the case now.
They recommend – and this is a sensible one although difficult to manage logistically – that there should be an international register of all agents and their intermediaries including those involved in organising or promoting large events.
They also recommend that there is an increased amount of due diligence testing undertaken on agents and intermediaries. This sounds like an expensive and logistically difficult process and again shows some naivety on the part of Transparency international.
The report does make some useful recommendations although they aren’t ones that haven’t been mooted before. The report is well intentioned but sadly lacks a bit of a basic research and not enough detail – it fails to identify the barriers to implementing any of the recommendations and these barriers are huge and complicated.
The report is overly simplistic without recognising the bigger factors that are in play when it comes particularly to match or spot fixing or lack of governance like we’ve seen in the Bangladesh Premier League.
The report over-estimates and misunderstands the way the ICC is set up and operates.
It will be interesting to see if the ICC has a conversation with Transparency International or responds formally to their recommendations.
The report is available on Transparency International’s website -
- Tremlett pretty much nailed on to be third seamer for the Gabba according to almost all publications. And Michael Clarke – and he’d know obviously
- England are saying that they’re hopeful Bresnan will be fit for the second Test
- Kevin Pietersen finds himself on the front of the local Aussie newspaper with the headline “he’s so arrogant not even his team mates like him”. Which I’m not sure is strictly true – I think some of them do.
- It’s Gary Wilson who’s the star as Ireland win their third WC qualifier in a row. Wilson top scored with 53 on a tricky pitch
- Matthew Wade has been banned by Cricket Australia after being found guilty of tampering with the pitch. By all accounts he was subtly bashing the outsides of the cracks that had appeared and created quite a ravine.
- Sachin has asked for us all to leave his son alone and not burden him with the weight of expectation. I think that’s a very fair thing to ask for
- NZ’s Doug Bracewell was stood down by central districts after a night on the tiles.
- The dudes responsible for the IPL fixtures are mulling over reducing the number of evening matches because of the temperatures. They’ve also decided to stick with 8 franchises so there will be 60 matches spanning six weeks. (similar to how it was in 2010)
- According to bits of the Aussie press, the England XI decided to bowl first in their warm-up match because they were scared of a slightly green topped pitch. This is, of course, utter nonsense but funny nonetheless
- Australia are considering going for all an pace attack for the Gabba Test. Poor Nathan Lyon.
Busy day on the county front
- Notts have announced the signing of Peter Siddle for 2014 season
- Rob Key has returned the captaincy at Kent, taking over from James Tredwell who did just one season in the role. Sam Northeast has appointed V-C
- Leicestershire say that although they’ve held talks about signing Fidel Edwards it seems unlikely that it will happen.
The ECB have announced changes to the playing regulations for domestic cricket in 2014 and here they are…… they’re not going to rock your world:
- Finning: as with international cricket if bowler breaks non-striker’s end stumps on delivery it will immediately be called a no-ball
- Super Over: there will be a super over in all tied matches in t20 including group stages
- Timed out: in Natwest T20 batsmen will have 60 seconds not the previous 90 to get to the crease
- In the LVCC the number of points for a draw has been increased by 2 – 5 points for a draw, 16 points for a win plus all the bonus points malarkey
- coloured crease markings – ECB are experimenting with alternative colours to white on crease markings.
- Royal London One Day Cup: will use ODI playing conditions wherever possible
- Heavy Roller: may only used once by each team per match for a maximum of seven minutes
- It’s finally here after all the build up – Sachin’s final Test and every single person in the world apart from me has written some sort of article about him and his impact. Here’s one in the Independent that’s about how India will move on from him
- Callum Ferguson has been called into the Invitational XI to play against England in their final warm-up match. Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja will not play in this match – they’ll be playing for their states instead. I’m told this is all down to State politics which sounds entirely plausible.
- Clarke will miss the final round of Shield games prior to the first Test
- Australia may name a 13 man rather than 12 man squad in case Watson doesn’t pull up fit – Alex Doolan is the favourite to be cover.
- Flower says England are ready despite the less than perfect build-up. Well he’s hardly going to say anything different is he.
- The weather forecast for Sydney this week looks unsettled too so England may face yet more disruption to their warm up.
- Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore will not have his contract renewed. Favourites to take the job are Younis Khan and Moin Khan
- Warwickshire return to training tomorrow after 6 weeks off (a lot of the other counties resumed last week)
- The Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president has said he will ask Sachin to reconsider his full retirement and consider playing on in this season’s Ranji Trophy. Won’t someone make this stop. Please.