Sri Lanka’s cricketers given two weeks grace period to come clean



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ICC Anti Corruption Unit officer Steve Richardson, Sports Minister Harin Fernando, SLC chief Ashley De Silva and other officials address Sri Lanka’s First Class players and officials.


The International Cricket Council yesterday held a meeting for all First Class cricketers at the Sports Ministry premises urging them to provide details if they are aware of any corrupt practice in Sri Lankan cricket.


ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit official Steve Richardson addressing players and officials said that they have been given a grace period of two weeks to report had they been approached to be part of corruption.


Richardson will be based in Colombo for two months and he will help Sri Lanka Cricket to fight corruption. During the two month period, apart from hearing confessions, Richardson will help SLC set up a local Anti Corruption Unit. The ICC official is expected to shortlist and recruit individuals to be part of the body.


The Island learns that some Sri Lankan players, including a former captain and a few officials had reported approaches to be involved in corrupt practice in the last several months. But the ICC believes that more others would have not reported approaches made to them.


The two week grace period allows them to report such approaches. If players and officials do not report these approaches, they could be charged under the Code of Conduct, if investigators get to know any effort to fix games.


Sri Lanka’s reputation over the last 24 months has suffered after the ICC intensified investigations following reports of corruption in the sport.


Two former international players Nuwan Zoysa and Dilhara Lokuhettige have been charged and provisionally suspended for alleged foul play while former captain Sanath Jayasuriya has been charged for not cooperating with investigations. Jayasuriya, however, is not provisionally suspended.


The head of Anti Corruption Unit Alex Marshall had been making frequent visits to the country to conduct investigations and his assertion that young players are the most vulnerable has sent shock-waves in cricket circles.


To make matters worse, the performance of the national cricket team has hit all time lows with Sri Lankan cricket suffering many losses in the last 24 months.


Local authorities also have cut a poor figure in addressing the issue of corruption in cricket. Match fixing during a First Class game two years ago was exposed and following investigations the culprits were exposed, but Sri Lanka Cricket and the Ministry of Sports pushed the findings under the carpet. It has been alleged that high ranking SLC officials were involved in the corrupt practice.


Current Sports Minister Harin Fernando has promised to give full backing to the investigations.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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