Lou Vincent
Lou Vincent Getty Images

New-Zealand cricketer charged with match-fixing

LOU Vincent has been charged with match-fixing by the England & Wales Cricket Board.

Vincent and former Sussex team-mate Naved Arif have been charged with fixing the outcome of a county cricket match.

Vincent and Arif, a Pakistani living in England, are being charged with 20 counts of match-fixing. If found guilty, they face lifetime bans from the sport.

The matches in question are a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent played at Hove on 23 August 2011 and the Twenty20 match between Sussex and Lancashire earlier that month.

Vincent made one run from seven balls against Kent before being run out. Arif will be charged with being Vincent's accomplice in allegedly rigging the match, which was televised live on Sky in the United Kingdom.

It attracted bets totalling more than £12 million on one regulated gambling website alone - the highest total for any match of its kind in the past three years - and countless more millions with illegal bookmakers in India.

Vincent has already given evidence to the International Cricket Council of fixing in five countries.

The ECB said in a statement: "The England and Wales Cricket Board has issued Charges against former New Zealand cricketer, Lou Vincent, and former Sussex cricketer, Naveed Arif, under the ECB's anti-corruption code.

"Vincent is charged with a total of 14 offences in relation to two county matches played under the ECB's jurisdiction in August 2011 - a Twenty20 match between Sussex and Lancashire and a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent.

"Naveed Arif is charged with six offences in relation to the 40-over game between Sussex and Kent in August 2011.

"Both players have been provisionally suspended from all cricketing activities organised, authorised or supported by the ECB, International Cricket Council, any other national cricket federation and any member of any other national cricket federation."

England captain Alastair Cook told the BBC: "I'm glad they've been charged because we don't want Corruption in the game".

Televised match under question

It emerged last week that Vincent told investigators he was approached by his fixer "NG" in a hotel in Brighton the day before the match and told he would receive £40,000 to throw the game, which was a crucial group match for Sussex, who would have been guaranteed a place in the semifinals if they had beaten Kent.

Vincent was told by his bookmaker handler to approach a third Sussex player, but that person turned down the offer to join in the fix and was furious in the dressing room after the match because he knew it had been rigged.

There is no suggestion any other player from either team was involved in the alleged fix.

Sussex appeared to be cruising to victory in the match despite Arif's expensive bowling in the Kent innings.

He took the new ball but bowled only six overs and conceded 41 runs with two wides, an economy rate of 6.83, his second-worst figures of the season in 40-over cricket.

In reply, Sussex looked set for a win at 76 for no wicket, chasing a target of 217. But they lost four wickets for seven runs in four overs including that of Vincent who, batting at three, was run out for one off six balls.

Arif batted at nine and scored 11 off 29 balls as Sussex were bowled out for 202 to lose by 14 runs.

Arif was dropped for the next match against Middlesex and played only three more one day matches for Sussex before losing his contract.

He is currently thought to be living in the north of England. If the Charges against the players are proven, bans issued in England by the ECB would apply all over the world because of an agreement between cricket-playing countries.

Although three Pakistan internationals and one English county player have over the past two-and-a-half years been sent to prison for spot-fixing - when one small part of a match is rigged, rather than the whole outcome - it is thought unlikely Vincent and Arif will face criminal Charges because of a view that such prosecutions are not the best use of taxpayers' money.

Ex-ICC anti-corruption rep: It's 'not unexpected'

Former International Cricket Council anti-corruption unit New Zealand representative Tim Castles told Radio New Zealand said the Charges against Vincent were "not unexpected" given the revelations that had been leaked from the ICC's investigation.

"If the reports are accurate, he has acknowledged a role in match fixing and associated activities."

Investigations into Corruption allegations took time to undertake, he said.

"There are due processes to be followed...these processes are very important in the interests of the players being investigated and well as in the broader interests of the game."

But he said information from the ICC investigation that had been leaked to the media was a "real concern", which could affect the outcome of the inquiry, Mr Castles said.

"It has every prospect of prejudicing the integrity of the investigation, threatening a proper outcome to it - I suppose we might come across a member of the fourth estate to whom this information is leaked but who decides not to publish it.

"Leaking is of great concern.

"Traditionally evidence which was in the public domain before the investigation had wrapped up could prejudice, not only the completion of the investigation, but the fairness and outcome of it", Mr Castles said.

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