Anti-corruption team monitors fans, hotel guests

MUMBAI • Fans at stadiums and guests at team hotels are under surveillance at the World Twenty20 tournament, as cricket tries to eradicate the scourge of match-fixing, according to the game's top anti-corruption troubleshooter.

Ronnie Flanagan, head of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), said: "We conduct reconnaissance of the (team) hotels.

"We stay at the same hotel and we conduct vigilance in terms of all those who try to seek access to the players."

Flanagan, formerly one of Britain's most senior police officers, said the unit was increasing its monitoring as the rise of short-form cricket provides more opportunities for corruption.

"I think we now know what we have to contend with and we are increasing our resources accordingly, in terms of the level of vigilance that we must maintain to thwart the activities of those who would seek to exploit the growth of cricket for their evil means," he explained.

That includes scouring team hotels and match venues, including supporters' sections and even restricted players' areas, for signs of anyone who appears on the ACU's database of suspected corrupters.

Shantanu Ray Guha, who has written a book on cricket corruption, told AFP that India's betting market was akin to a "parallel economy".

"Whether the ICC can clean this up, I have my serious doubts," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-corruption team monitors fans, hotel guests'. Print Edition | Subscribe