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Match fixing should be a criminal offence

sportsrahuldravidRahul Dravid has called for match-fixing and spot-fixing to be made criminal offences, adding that the fear of the law would be a huge deterrent to potential fixers. Dravid also wanted more education of players in the junior levels about the problem of fixing.

The latest episode of on-field cricket corruption surfaced in May when three of Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals’ team-mates were arrested for alleged spot-fixing.

“My personal belief is that education and counselling at a junior level is really important,” Dravid said in an extensive interview to ESPNcricinfo. “I think we’ve got to start early, we’ve got to start young but … that part of it is already being done. I know that India has its own ACSU and even for Ranji Trophy teams this education is given.”

Along with awareness problems, Dravid emphasised the need for stringent laws. “I don’t think only education can work, policing it and having the right laws and ensuring that people when they indulge in this kind of activities are actually punished. People must see that there are consequences to your actions. That will create fear for people.”

Dravid referred to cycling, a sport that has seen many of its leading stars admit to taking performance-enhancing drugs in recent years, to highlight why awareness programs alone were not sufficient. “Everyone knows it’s wrong, and it’s frightening, having read a little bit about it and the number of cyclists who were doing it. Surely all know it’s wrong.

“So the only people those cyclists were scared of was not the testers, not the authority, they were scared of the police. You read all the articles, the only guys they were scared of was the police and going to jail. So the only way that people are going to get that fear is if they know the consequences to these actions and the law that will come into play. It’s got to be a criminal offence.”

The three Royals players arrested on allegations of spot-fixing – Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila – have all been charged under the strict Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism.

“The case is still on and I don’t want to make any judgement on whether people are guilty or not and I think everyone has a right to be innocent until he’s proven guilty and I’m glad the police is going ahead and doing what needs to be done and taking it to its logical conclusion.” (cricinfo)

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