ECB offer approach amnesty to eradicate threat of spot-fixing

ENGLAND cricket chiefs last night took the unprecedented step of opening an amnesty window for players to report any historic approaches from match fixers in response to the landmark case of former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield, who yesterday admitted he was guilty of a spot-fixing offence.

Westfield faces a maximum of seven years in prison after accepting £6,000 for agreeing to concede 12 runs in his first over of a Pro40 match against Derbyshire back in September 2009.

With the international game still reeling from the scandal which saw three Pakistan cricketers jailed in November having been found guilty of committing a similar crime during the first Test at Lord’s in 2010, Westfield’s confession hints at the alarming possibility that the domestic game has also been contaminated by corruption.

It is an offence under the England and Wales Cricket Board regulations not to report any advances from match fixers, but in a bid to garner further information and root out potential offenders the governing body will relax its stance until 30 Apri.

Chris Watts, who was recently appointed as the ECB information manager to the Anti-Corruption Unit, said: “Information is critical in addressing the threat posed by corruption in sport.

“The decision to provide a window for retrospective reporting of alleged approaches will greatly assist the anti-corruption unit in compiling a more complete picture of the source and focus of approaches in the past.”