Westfield Pleads Guilty To Spot-Fixing Corruption

Westfield Pleads Guilty To Spot Fixing Corruption
Westfield Pleads Gulty To Spot Fixing Corruption
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Former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield has pleaded guilty to charges realating to spot fixing elements of a domestic cricket game in 2009 and will be sentenced next month.

In a short hearing at the Old Bailey, Westfield pleaded guilty to a charge of accepting corrupt payments to bowl badly during a game against Durham on 5th September 2009.

He was reportedly paid a sum of £6,000 to concede 12 runs in his opening over against Durham that year. In the event, he conceded 60 runs in seven overs, including four wides and two no balls before Essex .

He was granted unconditional bail and following the precedent set during the high-profile case invoving Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir late last year, he may also be handed a custodial sentence.

Butt and Asif were jailed for 30 and 12 months respectively after they contested the charges but were found guilty after a trial by jury although Amir, despite pleading guilty, was handed a six-month sentence in a young offender's institution.

The maximum sentence Westfield could face is ten years in jail. Westfield was released by Essex at the end of the 2010 season and has not played representative cricket since.

After the hearing, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued the following statement:

"This case has clearly demonstrated that there can be no complacency with regard to the potential threat posed to all areas and levels of sport including our domestic game by corrupt activities.

"It has also highlighted the need to further enhance player education around this issue and the ECB ACCESS Unit will be working closely with all those involved in the professional game and the PCA towards this end.

"This case sends out a clear message to all players and officials that spot or match fixing is a criminal activity and punishable in law.  We will, of course, continue to do our utmost to ensure that cricket is free from any corrupt activity."

© Cricket World 2012