Zim Cricket allege sabotage in corruption cases

Source: Zim Cricket allege sabotage in corruption cases | The Herald

Zim Cricket allege sabotage in corruption cases
Brendan Taylor

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE Cricket have said that they are ready to work hand-in-hand with the International Cricket Council and the local authorities to stamp out the corruption that is impacting the domestic game.

The local cricket authorities believe the sport is being sabotaged from within, following widespread suspicions and the rise in the cases of match-fixing.

This follows the three-and-a-half-year suspension handed on former captain Brendan Taylor after he was found guilty of breaching the ICC anti-corruption and anti-doping codes.

Taylor, who also admitted to charges of substance abuse following revelations he was in the habit of taking cocaine, becomes the second-high profile ex-Zimbabwean captain, after Heath Streak, to fall foul of the ICC disciplinary arm.

ZC said in a statement at the weekend that they were left counting the potential losses to the domestic game in the wake of the shameful exposé.

According to the ICC findings, Taylor was paid US$15 000 to facilitate spot fixing. He was also showered with various gifts, in contravention of the ICC Code.

ZC said the damage made by Taylor to the game was huge.

The association said in a statement released at the weekend that Taylor had let down the multitude of fans that idolised him and the upcoming generation that looked up to him as a role model.

“Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) notes and respects the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s decision to ban former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor from all cricket activities for three-and-a-half-years after he accepted charges of breaching the ICC anti-corruption and anti-doping codes.

“As an organisation, we are extremely disappointed to see the damage caused by the actions of an undoubtedly talented player widely regarded as one of the best cricketers to emerge from our country. Players are role models and as such have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate way.

“Unfortunately, Taylor, who owned up to receiving bribes to fix matches as well as taking cocaine, has failed the sport, his nation and all the people, including impressionable children, who trusted and idolised him.

“We are now left to count the costs of his deceit and greed: the credibility of our game has been seriously undermined, while our image as an organisation and as a country has been tainted,” said the ZC statement.

Taylor’s ban comes just nine months after another local cricket “idol” Streak had also fallen from grace. Streak was handed an eight-year ban after admitting to five breaches of the ICC’s anti-corruption code by accepting cash and gifts from match-fixers to aid in their evil schemes.

The association claimed that the game could be under sabotage from the “trusted” lieutenants, who appear to have betrayed their trust for the love of filthy lucre.

“The modus operandi seem to suggest a well-orchestrated agenda to sabotage ZC, our game and what we stand for. We believe situations such as this demonstrate the urgent need for our country to make sporting fraud a criminal offence.

“Indeed, the need to have a legal instrument to punish match-fixers has become more urgent. It is our view that harsh sanctions, including custodial sentences, will go a long way in helping cricket to curb one of the biggest threats to its credibility.

“Corruption has no place in cricket and those who engage in it deserve to be put out of the game and prosecuted to the full extent of a law specifically enacted to deal with match-fixing and related crimes.

“On our part, we will, together with the ICC, continue working hard to ensure all players and everyone else involved in cricket receive relevant information and important guidance regarding appropriate standards of conduct,” said the statement.

Zimbabwe currently does not have legislation that criminalises corruption in sport.

However, efforts are being made, with the establishment of the Zimbabwe Sport Integrity Bill. Cabinet has since approved the principles of the Bill.

The Bill seeks to provide for the elimination of sport corruption, doping, competition manipulation and illegal betting, among other vices. Once this Bill has passed through all the necessary processes and is passed into law, it will go a long way as a deterrent measure to those who might want to involve themselves in illegal practices.

High profile corruption appears rife in cricket in this country. In 2019, former ZC official, Enock Ikope, was also banned from all cricket for 10 years after the ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal found him guilty of breaching three counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

But due to lack of legislation against corruption in sport, both Streak and Ikope are yet to face local charges. It looks Taylor could also get away with a simple suspension from the ICC.