Two week amnesty for players to announce corrupt approaches, announces ICC

A 15-day amnesty will allow players who have previously been the target of corrupt approaches to come forward to the ICC without the risk of punishment, cricket’s governing body has announced. It is believed this will give an incentive for players to come forward for approaches which have been made in the past, giving the ICC a better chance of catching those responsible for negatively impacting the integrity of the game.

Typically, players are required to come forward immediately following a corrupt approach or risk punishment. Clearly, the ICC suggests that there are players in world cricket who have been approached and failed to report it. It is certainly plausible that in light of the substantial recent allegations which have made clear the level of corruption within the sport, there are players who have information they would wish to share but for fear of the punishment they will receive for holding onto the information. This amnesty removes that problem.

According to general manager of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit Alex Marshall, ‘this is the first time the ICC has held an amnesty and it is in response to the very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka’. Of course, the challenges aren’t limited to Sri Lanka, but these comments come just months after former Sri Lankan star Sanath Jayasuriya was charged with breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code. These charges came alongside Dilhara Lokuhettige and Nuwan Zoysa, two other former Sri Lankan players. 

The amnesty will allow the ICC ‘to continue to develop a comprehensive picture of the situation there,’ according to Marshall. Cricket’s governing body obviously has significant concerns about the depth of corruption not only in Sri Lanka, but around the world, and this unprecedented move is evidence of that. Certainly some will claim that it gives players the opportunity to get away with an action that should result in punishment, but the idea behind the move is pretty clear.

Whether it will have any tangible results will be interesting to see over the coming weeks. Most likely, there are players currently sweating over whether or not to come forward with information they may have been concealing during this period - or, in an ideal world for the ICC, simply waiting for the amnesty to begin to do so. The ICC has said nothing about whether the names of any players that come forward will be released, or whether the details of their information will be. It would certainly be understandable if they chose to withhold the names of any players to avoid public and media-based prosecution, but thus far they have said nothing related to this issue. Regardless, it will be an extremely interesting couple of months for cricket in Sri Lanka and indeed globally - watch this space.

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