Cricket match-fixers 'must be eradicated'

 

Corruption in cricket must be eradicated to enable the game to survive as a "truly competitive sport", the country's top judge stressed today.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge sent out his hard-hitting message as he rejected challenges against "spot-fixing" convictions by a cricketer and a sports agent.

Former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield - the first county cricketer in England to be prosecuted for spot-fixing - and Mazhar Majeed, 36, from Croydon, south London, were jailed in separate cases.

They claimed their prosecutions were legally flawed, but Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges at the Court of Appeal in London, ruled that their convictions were safe.

Lord Judge said: "These otherwise unconnected appeals against conviction arise in the same notorious context, 'spot fixing' in cricket matches.

"For cricket betting is not new. It has, however, become multi-faceted.

"Nowadays it is possible to place bets not only on the final outcome of a match, but on particular passages of play, such as how many runs will be scored or wickets taken in an over, or indeed on individual events during the course of an over or passage of play.

"Cricket is widely televised, not only in the country where the match is being played, but throughout the cricket-playing world, and indeed further afield.

"The prizes for successful gambling can be very great, and the scope for corruption is therefore considerable.

"For the health, indeed the survival, of the game as a truly competitive sport, it must be eradicated."

Majeed and Westfield pleaded guilty following rulings by the trial judges on issues of law relating to the offences alleged against them.

At the Court of Appeal the men argued that the rulings were wrong - Lord Judge, Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Irwin would have ordered retrials if they had ruled in their favour.

Dismissing the appeals, Lord Judge said the rulings by the judges "were right and these appeals against conviction are dismissed".

He said: "The respective offences of conspiracy against Majeed and cheating against Westfield were properly prosecuted."

Majeed was sentenced to two years and eight months in November after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to make corrupt payments.

Westfield, now 24, from Chelmsford, Essex, was sentenced to four months in prison at the Old Bailey in February and has since been released.

He pleaded guilty to one count of accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs.

He was paid £6,000 to bowl so that a specific number of runs would be chalked up in the first over of a match between Durham and Essex in September 2009.

As well as the jail sentence, Westfield was the subject of a confiscation order for £6,000.

In the case involving Majeed, three Pakistan cricketers also received custodial sentences at London's Southwark Crown Court over a scandal that rocked world sport.

Ex-Test captain Salman Butt was jailed for two-and-half years for his role as the "orchestrator" of a plot to bowl deliberate no-balls in the 2010 Lord's Test against England.

Mohammad Asif, the former world number two Test bowler, was sentenced to 12 months.

Mohammad Amir, who had been tipped to become one of the all-time great fast bowlers, was sentenced to six months.

All three players are serving five-year bans from cricket imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Amir and Butt failed in an attempt to have their sentences reduced at the Court of Appeal in November.

PA

News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment