Irish: SA players not corrupt

Tony Irish (Gallo Images)
Tony Irish (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the six franchises have anti-corruption codes in place and players are expertly educated about the dangers of bookmakers’ advances.

The very best South African players, who also participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL), are paid between R10 and R15 million per year in total cricket earnings and have secure contracts in South Africa, which should make them less susceptible to the financial lure of corruption, Tony Irish, the chief executive officer of the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) told the website.

Irish was commenting after the former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent reportedly identified 12 games around the world, including matches during the Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa in 2012, that involved fixing, according to the UK’s Daily Telegraph

The paper published details of an ICC report which includes Vincent's allegations of matches that involved fixing, offers that were made and signals used to indicate that a fix was "on".

New Zealand Cricket's chief executive, David White, has said to the best of his knowledge, no current New Zealand players were being investigated, nor were any matches played in New Zealand or involving the national team.

However, he said that some Auckland Aces games played at the 2012 Champions League in South Africa were being investigated.

Gareth Hopkins, the former New Zealand wicketkeeper who was Auckland captain during the Champions League, told Fairfax Media he had no reason to suspect spot-fixing in the tournament.

"None of the South African players involved in that Champions League T20 tournament reported anything untoward to SACA or CSA and as far as we know, none of our players are under investigation at the moment," Irish said.

"There are secure clauses in every contracted player’s contract about anti-corruption.

"There are also secure clauses in the franchise’s players’ contracts.

"A thorough education program on anti-corruption forms part of the players’ education programs at franchise and international level,” he added.

"Although one can never totally discount these things in cricket, I would be very surprised if it turned out that any South African players wasn’t clean.

"In terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a comprehensive, collective agreement between SACA, CSA, the franchises and the players, the players have traditionally received roughly 20 % of all CSA’s professional cricket revenues,"' said Irish.

"This MOU was renewed on the 30th April 2014, and in terms of the new four-year contract, the players’ contracts will be funded from an agreed lump sum of money negotiated by us with CSA.

"This secures player contracts for the next four years, where players have contracts, this should lessen the risk of being lured into financial gain from other sources."

He did not want to disclose the lump sum figure.

Irish said South African players are arguably the fourth best paid cricketers in the world, behind players from India, Australia and England.

The most senior South African players, who also have access to very good Indian Premier League contracts, earn R10 to R15 million per year in total cricket income.

"That does not nullify the threat of participating in corruption, but it lessens the attraction considerably.

"Some other players in the world are not paid that well, which perhaps makes them more susceptible to accepting offers from bookmakers.

"Bookmakers will be interested in domestic T20-matches all over the world, like the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge tournament, the Big BASH and other similar events like the Caribbean T20-tournament.

"This format of the game just happens to be where most of the betting takes place," underlined Irish.

"That does not mean that any of those tournaments are corrupt. But it does mean that anti-corruption units, players and everyone else involved must be continuously vigilant," he said.

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