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Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the Chairman of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), has defended the organisation following criticism of its perceived role in the spot-fixing trial.
Pakistan internationals Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir as well as agent Mazhar Majeed were all given custodial sentences for orchestrating and carrying out the spot fixing in 2010.
An anti-corruption tribunal found all three players guilty of breaching the ICC's anti-corruption code and handed them lengthy bans before the court case opened.
Speaking to the ICC Cricket World Radio show, Flannigan said:
"I find some of the criticism I have listened to very interesting and quite frankly it comes from very ill informed people - people who have no idea how the Anti Corruption and Security Unit within the ICC goes about its business.
"People have no idea about the emphasis we put on prevention and when we have to investigate, how my investigators work so professionally hand in hand with policing colleagues, just as they have done in this case.
"I commended the News of the World at the time for their revelations that they have brought into the public domain, but there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done by my investigators in order to bring disciplinary charges to the Independent Disciplinary Tribunal within the ICC and to continue their work hand in glove with the detectives from Scotland Yard to present the evidence in the criminal cases as well."
Asked to reflect on the ACSU's contribution to the spot fixing case, Flannigan added:
"I think it has been very prominent and very important. As I have said, once the revelations were brought into the public domain by the then The News of the World that very day, I had one of our team immediately on hand with Scotland Yard and dispatched two other colleagues from Dubai and they began their work immediately.
"It was very painstaking work to gather that evidence, analyse that evidence and work with the ICC legal team to be in a position to properly present that evidence so these crimes, these offences can be properly dealt with."
Former players have been quick to criticise the ACSU, accusing them of being run by people who aren't in touch with the game and some have suggested that ex-international cricketers should be involved with the unit. Flannigan, however, rejects this criticism.
"I certainly wouldn't personally claim to be a cricketing expert in any sense," he said. "I am a great lover of the game of cricket, I think I have a good knowledge of the laws, but I think I would bow to the much superior knowledge of my other team members. Any suggestion that the ACSU as a body does not have cricketing knowledge, I would reject completely.
"I think they need a knowledge of the world of cricket, they need to know how it should operate and they need to know how sometimes a very small proportion of people would seek to have it operate in ways it shouldn't operate. I find they all have a great love of the game as well. I think that love of the game and that determination to keep it clean is very important for how they go about their business."
Flannigan went on to offer his view that although the spot fixing case was a high profile instance of corruption in the game, he does not believe that the sport has a big problem with corruption.
"I think that (corruption) is certainly not rampant in the world of cricket," he said. "Sadly I wouldn't say the instances we have seen brought to justice are totally isolated either. They indicate we must be ever vigilant, they indicate that the hard work and the wonderful platform established by Lord Condon, which we have been able to build upon, is such we must never be complacent and ever vigilant.
"The vast, vast majority of cricketers are not only wonderfully talented, but wonderfully ethical people. It is only a tiny proportion of people, some of whom may a pre-deposition to it and some who succumb to the evil advances of other people. My message to the followers of cricket is keep following, keep loving this wonderful game and don't be thinking that corruption is rampant within the game."
© Cricket World 2011
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