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Spot-fixing verdicts - an opportunity for the ICC
By Lalit K. Modi - 2nd November, 2011

The guilty verdicts passed to Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif at the end of the spot fixing trial in London were a significant step in the battle against corruption in sport. 

Butt and Asif were each found guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat, while a third player, Mohammad Amir, pleaded guilty to the same offences at a pre-trial hearing two weeks before the case began. The convictions represent one of the most high profile warnings to anyone - and everyone - who are involved in world sport and who may be tempted into such activity. But in many ways, the hard work starts here. 

To use a fighting analogy, this was an important battle fought and won but it doesn't represent victory in the war. And that's why the ICC must use this verdict to pursue a course of action that inspires confidence across all sport - not just cricket - that any activity which potentially manipulates the result and misleads and short-changes the paying public, will not be tolerated.

In my view, the ICC this case presents an opportunity to lead from the front. Its Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat said afterwards that the ICC has a zero tolerance attitude towards corruption. He also said that any suggestion of corrupt activity within the game will be comprehensively investigated and, where appropriate, robustly prosecuted. I hope, pray and trust such a promise will be kept. There is a deep feeling across the world that action has been slow in coming in the past, but surely, now is the time.

As news of the verdicts from Southwark Crown Court were coming through, the Twitter pages were predictably full of reaction and comment and those of you who follow my tweets will already know my strong views on this subject. Thanks to all of you who responded so positively. In my opinion, everyone involved in cricket now has a responsibility to ensure the game is 'clean' and - most importantly - is seen to be 'clean'. That means the players, administrators, coaches and umpires, must all unite to prove to the world that we, as cricket,  are determined to prevail. The ICC must now lead that charge robustly and, if necessary, publicly. And those who refuse to co-operate - or have refused to do so in the past - will remain as culpable as those who are directly involved in spot-fixing, match-fixing or any other form of corruption.

Cricket was, quite literally in the dock in London and the world game is now under the global microscope. But there is light at the end of what currently appears a long, dark tunnel - as long as cricket is prepared to face up to the task of proving to cricket fans across the world, it is serious about regaining their trust.

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