New Zealand Cricket has confirmed matches played by an Auckland Twenty20 team at the 2012 Champions League in South Africa are the subject of an International Cricket Council investigation into match-fixing.
Chief executive David White told a news conference in Auckland on Thursday that New Zealand had been informed by the ICC that matches involving the Auckland Aces formed part of an ongoing investigation into possible match and spot fixing in several countries.
White said no matches played in New Zealand and no current New Zealand players are being investigated.
New Zealand Cricket’s announcement followed a report in London’s Telegraph newspaper that former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent had provided the ICC’s anti-corruption unit with evidence of match fixing in as many as five countries.
“No matches involving New Zealand national teams are being investigated,” White said. “I would like to stress that we understand that this is very much an isolated incident. Match fixing is a threat to cricket around the globe and we remain 100 percent behind the ICC in their focus on fighting corruption.”
The Telegraph reported Vincent had provided the ICC with information on matches targeted for spot fixing and the names of players involved. The newspaper report also said Vincent’s detailed evidence involved matches played in England’s county competition and in four other countries.
Vincent is reported to have provided the information — described by the Telegraph as “as treasure trove” — as part of a plea bargain and in the hope of avoiding criminal investigation for his personal involvement in or knowledge of spot fixing between 2008 and 2012.
The Telegraph said the ICC is “working with detectives employed by cricket boards around the world to piece together a complex case, which they believe will emerge as the biggest fixing scandal since the Hansie Cronje affair 14 years ago and, possibly, even more significant than that”.
The ICC routinely declines to comment on ongoing investigations. The head of its anti-corruption unit skipped a scheduled attendance at the release Thursday of the International Center for Sport Security’s latest report in Paris.
Chris Eaton, the former head of security for football’s world governing body, said the Vincent case appears “very important”. But he also cautioned that it should not be taken as an indication that the ICC has been lax on tackling fixing and corruption in the sport.
“The ICC was ahead of the game, they started very early,” said Eaton, now director of sport integrity at the Qatar-funded ICSS. “The problem has been that it’s beyond the capacity of any sport to control organised crime and organised crime’s infiltration at every level of any sport.
“It’s not the fault of the ICC, it’s the fault of the governments that have allowed organised crime to have free trammel over sport.”
In its latest report, the ICSS and Paris’ Pantheon-Sorbonne University estimated that organised crime launders $140 billion each year by laying bets on sporting events. The report said much match-fixing remains hidden and that “hundreds or even thousands” of cases are suspected in 2013 alone.