Ex-cricketer Mervyn Westfield admits corruption

 

The first professional cricketer in England to face charges over spot-fixing in a county match today admitted corruption.

Mervyn Westfield, 23, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs.

He received £6,000 to bowl so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of a match between Durham and Essex in September 2009, although in fact only 10 were chalked up.

A separate charge of assisting another person to cheat at gambling was ordered to lie on file.

Adjourning sentencing until February 10, Judge Anthony Morris told Westfield: "I hold out no promises to you as to the eventual outcome of this case.

"It's open to the court in this case to pass an immediate custodial sentence."

The former Essex county cricketer, of Chelmsford, Essex, currently remains on bail.

Judge Morris said that the name of the other party involved in the deal would be known to cricket fans, but it was not revealed in court.

Westfield is the first professional cricketer in England to face prosecution for his involvement in spot-fixing in a county cricket match, Essex Police said.

Detective Sergeant Paul Lopez said: "We are pleased that Mervyn Westfield, a young professional cricketer, has now admitted the charge and we hope that this sends a strong message to professional sportsmen and women around the country - if they intend to get involved in spot-fixing, or think that match-fixing is not a crime, then they need to think again."

Angus Porter, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, welcomed Westfield's decision to enter a guilty plea.

"The fact that he has admitted to the crime can only act as a signal to others that sport needs to be treated with respect and played properly, at any level," he said.

Mr Porter said that the sport had "moved on" since Westfield committed the offence.

The case follows a separate trial in which three Pakistani cricketers were imprisoned for their roles in a match-fixing scam.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were all sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in November for a plan to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England the previous summer.

PA