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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Draw a line

For now, action against match-fixing in sport is hobbled by lack of legal definition.

By: Editorial | July 2, 2020 12:13:30 am
coronavirus, covid 19, coronavirus lockdown, india lockdown, indian express  The sparsely-staffed ACU unit depends on the players to report any untoward approach. It’s a battle against human nature — one that the anti-corruption crusaders in sport often lose. Without adequate legislation in place, the culprits aren’t really worried.

Ravinder Dandiwal has been accused of being the kingpin in a global tennis match-fixing and betting scam by the Victorian police in Australia. Dandiwal has dabbled in cricket in the past — he tried to run a T20 league in Mohali and is supposed to have been behind a league in Nepal — and has been labelled as a “person of interest” by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the Indian cricket board. Despite his tennis misadventures and his known past, that’s all that the non-enforcement agency can do. The law doesn’t allow it to even call him in for questioning. Since fixing isn’t deemed a legal offence, it can at the most try to stop him from entering cricket stadiums.

Unsurprisingly, as the BCCI’s ACU head, Ajit Singh, told this newspaper, the list of “persons of interest” is long. If the ACU is able to successfully warn the players about these persons or if their personnel spot and stop them from contacting the players, they simply change their methodology — or the sport. As Dandiwal apparently switched from cricket to tennis. The sparsely-staffed ACU unit depends on the players to report any untoward approach. It’s a battle against human nature — one that the anti-corruption crusaders in sport often lose. Without adequate legislation in place, the culprits aren’t really worried.

The ACU needs to constantly monitor, update the database of suspected persons, share information with other boards and the ICC — and hope that the players do their bit. For now, beyond this, not much can be really done. “That’s why we need a match-fixing law,” Ajit Singh told this newspaper. The cycle of impunity needs to be broken.

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