Former Pakistan captain blames ICC for corruption in cricket

Cricket players convicted of corruption
Cricket players convicted of corruption

    JUST WATCHED

    Cricket players convicted of corruption

MUST WATCH

Cricket players convicted of corruption 01:51

Story highlights

  • Asif Iqbal says the ICC is not doing enough to prevent corruption
  • Iqbal was speaking after two of his fellow Pakistanis were found guilty Tuesday
  • Iqbal calls for stricter restrictions on agents and sponsors involved with players
  • The 68-year-old not surprised by verdict and says it is a sad day for cricket
Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal has criticized cricket's governing body for not doing enough to prevent corruption.
Iqbal's comments came after two Pakistan players, former captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Asif, were found guilty of "conspiracy to cheat" and "conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt funds" in a British court on Tuesday.
A third, 19-year-old Mohammad Amir, had earlier pleaded guilty to the same charges, which relate to "spot-fixing" in a Test match against England at the home of cricket, Lord's in London, in August 2010.
The trio could now face prison terms, and will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Iqbal, 68, told CNN that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had not taken sufficient action to tackle corruption within the game.
"I personally hold the ICC responsible for not taking proper care of its product," said Iqbal, who represented Pakistan in 58 Tests between 1964 and 1980.
Cricket trial: Pakistan wants to move on
Cricket trial: Pakistan wants to move on

    JUST WATCHED

    Cricket trial: Pakistan wants to move on

MUST WATCH

Cricket trial: Pakistan wants to move on 02:41
Cricketers found guilty of cheating
Cricketers found guilty of cheating

    JUST WATCHED

    Cricketers found guilty of cheating

MUST WATCH

Cricketers found guilty of cheating 02:56
"The ICC being the head of the entire cricketing world, they are the ones who should be taking action. They have got an anti-corruption unit ... there's not one single case in which the anti-corruption unit has actually come up with any substantial evidence to nail any cricketer."
Evidence of the "spot-fixing" plot was discovered by an undercover journalist for the now defunct British newspaper the News of the World. Iqbal condemned the ICC for failing to act on similar accusations in the past and for not unearthing corruption themselves.
"Here, an investigative reporter from a newspaper did the work for the ICC," the former all-rounder said. "Allegations were made by teammates in Sri Lanka, a former Sri Lankan captain made certain allegations against present cricketers.
"Likewise an Indian cricketer and a West Indian cricketer were named, and the cricketing board really did nothing. We haven't heard anything further after that. No ICC action was taken.
"If the player was found guilty they should have taken the same action as they did against the Pakistani players."
The ICC released a statement after the verdict stating that the outcome was consistent with the findings of its anti-corruption unit earlier this year, which dished out suspensions to the trio of between five to seven years.
"The developments in the English criminal courts will have no impact upon those periods of suspension, which will remain in full force and effect," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.
"The ICC takes no pleasure from the fact that these players stepped outside not only the laws of the game but also the criminal laws of the country in which they were participating.
"We have always said that we will continue to explore every possible avenue to ensure that cricket is free from corrupt activity. That is precisely what we have done in this case."
Iqbal called for the ICC to change its approach to corruption, suggesting the organization should implement more stringent rules for agents and other outside sources involved with players.
"First, if any of these allegations are made by any individual against a team or players, the ICC should not let the local cricket board take any action. The second, far more important thing and I believe they may be doing this now ... agents of the players.
"They play a huge role in putting these players under pressure and making them do things which are not proper. The agents of the players should be regulated, that is very important."
In addition to agents, Iqbal said players' sponsors should be checked in order to make sure payments being received are legitimate.
"They should also check with the players the amount of sponsorship money they are getting from various sponsors, where it's coming from, who the sponsor is," he said.
"Also keep an account of the agents: what he is, where he is getting these sponsorships from. All these things will help cricket clear the mess it has found itself in."
Iqbal was not surprised to see the three players found guilty, saying corruption is always possible in an age where sport is such a lucrative business.
"To have these things happening is very sad and very disappointing," he said. "But I suppose cricket is no longer a sport, it's an industry now with live telecasting of matches all around the world.
"And people do get tempted, so it is sad and I wish it hadn't happened."
While the Pakistan Cricket Board has refused to speak to the media about the conviction, some officials believe the verdict will have a positive effect on cricket. "I think Pakistanis have realized that if a punishment is there it will deter players from becoming corrupt," Shakil Shaikh, president of Islamabad Cricket Club, told CNN.
Former Test captain Shahid Afridi told local media he was saddened by the news, which he said harmed the reputation of the country and Pakistani cricket, but added, "this is an example for future players."