Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society

The photo shows (L-R) Jonathan Brookes (CCLS Committee Member), Chris Watts, Steven Richardson and Mike Taylor (CCLS Chairman)

Photo courtesy of John Windle


Ex-Metropolitan Police officers Chris Watts and Steve Richardson from the ECB Anti-Corruption Unit joined us to give an insight into the efforts being made to eliminate corruption from cricket.

At the commencement of the talk, Chris asked the question ‘Is cricket meeting the threat?’ There is no doubt that, if asked at the end of the meeting the 60 members present would have responded with a resounding ‘Yes’.

Chris and Steve gave details of the incidents which resulted in such units being formed by the ICC and national governing bodies. Cases since formation were also discussed.

They indicated that if there was no betting there would be no corruption and when they gave details on the level of betting in cricket, even on domestic games in this country, gasps from members were heard. There was no previous comprehension by members present on the scale of the ‘industry’ both in this country and also of the incomparable market in the sub-continent. Despite the problems it has produced they thought that betting on cricket should not be discouraged as there now were good procedures in place to ensure fairness.

The current E&WCB Anti – Corruption Code for Participants was explained and details given on its implementation. Article One of the Code states:-

‘All cricket matches are to be contested on a level playing-field, with the outcome of every ball and every cricket match to be determined solely by the respective merits of the competing teams and, therefore, to remain uncertain until each ball is bowled and until the cricket match is completed. This is the essential characteristic that gives sport its unique appeal.

Public confidence in the authenticity and integrity of the sporting contest is therefore vital. If that confidence is undermined, then the very essence of cricket will be shaken to the core. It is the determination to protect that essence of cricket that has led the ECB to adopt this Anti-Corruption Code.’

They also showed a video, shown to all professional cricketers, made in cooperation with convicted Essex player Mervyn Westfield.

Speaking to members after the meeting comments included ‘sad, haunting, a dose of reality, incredulity, poignant,’ but each comment was followed by ‘re-assuring, professional, safe hands, comforting’.

Perhaps the general conclusion to the evening was best summed up by CCLS Chairman, Mike Taylor who stated in a note to the speakers:

‘As well as providing such an informative insight to your work and some of the serious issues facing the game we all love, you brought great credit to the ECB as regards their drive to focus on prevention as a way of combatting something that could seriously blight our wonderful game. ‘

Members present would endorse those comments and be grateful that this aspect of the game is in the very safe hands of Chris, Steven and their colleagues.

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