Fighting corruption a priority - Australia chief

Thursday, 3 November 2011 00:47 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SYDNEY, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Australia has joined the chorus of cricket administrators hailing the conviction of three Pakistan players for spot-fixing in London, maintaining that fighting corruption must be a priority for the game.

Former Pakistan test captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Asif were found guilty of corruption in a British criminal court on Tuesday. A third player, Mohammad Amir, pleaded guilty before the start of the trial.

They will be sentenced later on Wednesday.

“It is critically important that the public has confidence in the integrity of the on-field cricket contests it sees,” Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said in a statement.

“Like all other member countries, we have an obligation to implement anti-corruption measures and we are even more committed to this after hearing today’s news out of the London courts.

“Our consistent position has been that any credible evidence of corruption be investigated with vigour.”

Australia captain Michael Clarke said that while the conviction of the three players should act as “a strong deterrent” to those who were tempted by corruption, more needed to be done to ensure the integrity of the game.

“While today’s proceedings are a step in the right direction, it is hugely important that the authorities continue to put processes in place to rid the game of match fixing forever,” he said from South Africa, where Australia are touring.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the world game’s world governing body, expressed similar sentiments after the verdicts on Tuesday, while the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) reiterated its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption in sport.

Butt and Asif were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of “conspiracy to cheat” and “conspiracy to accept corrupt payments” for fixing part of a test match against England last year.