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Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 21:23 UK

ICC can root out betting scams - Lord Stevens

Lord Stevens
Lord Stevens is a veteran of numerous corruption probes in sport

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens has backed cricket's world governing body to police the sport.

The International Cricket Council's ability to combat corruption has been questioned since a newspaper accused four Pakistan players of spot fixing.

Lord Stevens, who has headed a number of corruption inquiries in sport, feels the ICC can stamp out betting scams.

"There are processes and best-practice which allow them to do that," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

The News of the World claimed it gave £150,000 to a middleman who provided details about three no-balls which later occurred when predicted in Pakistan's final Test against England at Lord's on 29 August.

We shouldn't rely on the News of the World to do business which is in the public interest

Lord Stevens

Pakistan quartet Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif, Wahab Riaz and captain Salman Butt are now the subject of police and ICC investigations, while another man, cricket agent Mazhar Majeed, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

All four players maintain their innocence, but the story has placed cricket's integrity, or lack of it, under the spotlight, while some observers have questioned the effectiveness of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

"We shouldn't rely on the News of the World to do business which is in the public interest," added Lord Stevens, who was speaking at the first one-day international between England and Pakistan at Chester-le-Street on Friday.

"We in sport, including the police, have a duty to ensure sports are clean," continued Lord Stevens, a member of Durham County Cricket Club's board.

After retiring from the police, Lord Stevens has amassed a wealth of experience in investigating such matters, examining alleged transfer bungs in football, hired by Formula One team Ferrari to look into the suspected leaking of team details, and chairing an investigation into horse-doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

And he believes a coordinated global approach is required to halt the activities of illegal betting syndicates, which are believed to operate predominantly in Asia.

"Worldwide there is a need for legislation that encompasses these kinds of activities, something similar to what we do on the anti-terrorist side of things," he stated. "Unless we do that, the sports we love are under threat.

"An international conference is needed within the next 12 months - bring everyone together, investigators, people like yourselves [the media] who know about the sport, especially cricket.

"Police organisations, including Interpol, should come along and have a kind of 'blue sky' thinking about how we can take sport forward. Talk is no good any longer, action is needed."

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see also
Pakistan trio set to return home
10 Sep 10 |  Pakistan
Riaz to face police questioning
09 Sep 10 |  Pakistan
'Banish Pakistan trio if guilty'
05 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka cricketer investigated
05 Sep 10 |  Cricket
Pakistan trio keen to see row end
04 Sep 10 |  England
Pakistan scandal takes new twist
02 Sep 10 |  England
Aussies 'approached' by bookmaker
31 Aug 10 |  Australia
Pakistan face calls for life bans
30 Aug 10 |  Cricket
Stevens outlines inquiry findings
20 Dec 06 |  Football

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