Bookmaking Agents Under Surveillance

Match-fixers monitored by sports anti-corruption unit

The undercover work of the ACSU – the anti-corruption unit of the ICC – may be low profile, but it is clearly intensive as a report in the UK newspaper The Telegraph illustrated this week.

The newspaper had access to confidential documents from the ACSU dating back to 2009 and the World Twenty20 cricket competitions in England, and 2011 and the World Cup.

The report shows numerous attempts to contact and subvert players by a number of individuals in both the UK and India who are identified only by code initials, but were clearly under close and covert surveillance.

One particular individual was so active and persistent that players were briefed about him and shown photographs by ACSU operatives, which were effective in restricting his efforts.

Many agents tried to get to players by booking rooms at the hotels where they were staying, using every opportunity presented by hotel facilities to make contact and develop match-fixing offers, perhaps not realising that they were themselves being tracked and observed by ACSU monitors.

The ACSU report details a number of instances where offers of cash, cars, casino chips and even call girls were used in 'honeytrap' moves by disreputable agents… and one used her considerable physical charms to literally get close to players and offer services.

It appears that not only the players, but members of their families, were approached by persons intent on fixing the results or in-play aspects of televised matches at several international and domestic levels.

A combination of ACSU surveillance and enforcement, and player reports on attempts to bribe them, reduced the opportunities for match-fixers.

The ACSU report shows that in 2011 the unit chased down 281 lines of inquiry across the world; investigated 11 firm corrupt approaches to players or team officials; enquired into 124 suspicious actions; monitored the suspicious activities of 67 individuals; sifted through 74 pieces of technical data and worked with five other important items of information related to fixing," the Telegraph reports.

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