Government in mighty hurry to criminalise corruption in sports

Bill to be presented to Parliament on Monday

by Rex Clementine

The Sports Ministry has decided to present a new Bill, at a special sitting of Parliament, on Monday, to criminalise corruption in sports. If the Bill become law, offenders will face a jail term of ten years if found guilty by a court of law.

The new Bill will be presented to the Parliament by Sports Minister Harin Fernando next Monday (11).

The bill, which was to be presented to Parliament this week itself, was delayed due to technical reasons.

Parliament sources, however, said there was the possibility of President Maithiripala Sirisena proroguing Parliament before the 11th November and the bill would die a natural death in such an eventuality.

Sources said some individuals were delaying the presentation of the Bill to protect some influential persons involved in corruption in sports.

The Bill deals with corrupting matches, illegal betting and aiding and abetting corruption in sports. Apart from jail terms, fines up to Rs. 100 million will be imposed on the offenders.

Britain already has laws to jail individuals who corrupt sport, and Sri Lanka will become the first Asian nation to make such laws.

The International Cricket Council recommended tough legal measures to deal with corruption in sports after its Anti Corruption Unit had commenced a record number of investigations pertaining to Sri Lanka.

The investigations were initiated after Sri Lanka’s shocking series defeat to Zimbabwe at home in 2017.

Former great Kumar Sangakkara revealed recently that of the 43 ongoing ICC investigations on corruption, 23 were against Sri Lanka.

Early this year, Sri Lanka’s First Class cricketers were given an amnesty period by the ICC to report corruption incidents that had been previously ignored. This opened up a can of worms as evidence flooded, providing investigators new information on corrupt activities. It was revealed that Indian bookies had used ‘honey traps’ to corrupt players. A dozen Sri Lankan international cricketers confessed that they had had sexual relationships with a certain woman.

The ICC then placed one of its Anti Corruption officers in Colombo to dig deep.

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