The head of cricket’s world body said on Wednesday he is confident of a corruption-free 2019 World Cup as the sport works overtime to disrupt criminals who attempt to fix matches.
David Richardson, chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), also called on national governments to do more to tackle match fixing, which has affected lucrative Twenty20 leagues as well as international matches.
The ICC anti-corruption unit “is trying to be much more proactive in first of all disrupting these criminals who are travelling the world trying to corrupt the game,” said Richardson.
“Working hand in hand with the law enforcement agencies will help us do that. So (we are) very confident that we will keep the World Cup corruption free,” Richardson told reporters at a promotional event in New Delhi.
He added: “We are persuading governments to introduce legislation that can make attempts to fix cricket matches a criminal offence and put these people behind bars.”
Richardson said there are currently investigations ongoing into corruption and match fixing.
Sri Lanka bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa was the latest to face suspension in October over accusations of match fixing.
Former Sri Lankan opener and ex-selector Sanath Jayasuriya was also charged for failing to cooperate with a match-fixing probe and concealing information in October.
The 2019 World Cup is due to take place in England and Wales from May to July.
The 59-year-old Richardson, who is a former South Africa wicketkeeper, also reiterated ICC’s interest in taking cricket to the Olympics.
The vast majority of ICC members are keen to have the sport at the quadrennial event, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has its reservations.
“We have got an ambition to have cricket in the Olympics in 2028. That’s easier said than done. We need to convince the International Olympic Committee to have cricket,” said Richardson. “103 out of 104 members are strongly behind that decision to get cricket in the Olympics. There are some issues that BCCI has with the Indian Olympic Association but I am very confident that those issues can be resolved.”
The only time cricket has ever featured at the Olympics was in 1900, with just two men’s teams competing. Great Britain won gold with hosts France taking silver.