Implementing New Laws

India Urged To Pass Legislation To Criminalize Match Fixing

While cricket has surged in popularity with the introduction of T20 cricket over a decade ago and brought in millions of new fans around the world, a large number of fans have stopped watching the game. Die-hard cricket fans have been jaded by the numerous match fixing scandals that have rocked the cricketing world in the last two decades.

India continues to be a major hub for match fixing in cricket and T20 cricket tends to be one of the main targets. The Indian Premier League (IPL), Karnataka Premier League (KPL) and the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) have all been tainted with match fixing allegations over the years.

The BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has its hands full with multiple investigations to pursue plus the task of keeping a vigilant eye on current market situations as India gets ready to resume international cricketing action.

ICC ACU Head Urges For Law To Be Passed Quickly

The ICC’s ACU has been under even more pressure in recent years as there are multiple cases and leads that Steve Richardson and his team have to pursue. Richardson has called on the Indian government to help clean up match fixing in cricket by passing new legislation that will make match fixing a criminal offense.

Current laws in India ban any form of sports betting and anyone found placing an illegal bet can be arrested but if someone is found offering a bribe to a player to fix a match, they cannot be arrested as there is no clear law regarding match fixing.

This grey area is one of the reasons why match fixers are so bold to approach players and fix matches. Richardson believes that with India set to host the T20 World Cup in 2021 and the ICC World Cup in 2023, there is going to be a lot of attempts at match fixing in the coming years. He wants the Indian government to not only pass a law to criminalize match fixing but to pass the law quickly so that the authorities have more power to arrest and prosecute match fixers.

Richardson said that he had information concerning around 10 individuals who were serial match fixers in India but wasn’t too keen on sharing that information with the Indian authorities as he was aware the authorities cannot do much given the current legal framework concerning match fixing.

BCCI ACU Making A Difference

The BCCI ACU also supported the stance of Richardson and said the laws would significantly help them reduce corruption in the sport. ACU head Ajit Singh knows fully well how the TNPL and KPL have been tarnished due to the match fixing scandals that rocked these state T20 leagues.

When the ACU was commissioned to oversee these state T20 leagues, the match fixing scandals were highlighted. Indian cricket has seen match fixing at the highest level as witnessed by the suspension of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises.

Singh believes at this point in time the ACU is working backwards looking to find match fixers and investigate suspicious games. A law criminalizing match fixing will help to discourage match fixers from openly going after players and make the work of the ACU a lot easier.

Notorious match fixer Ravinder Dandiwal was arrested in early July in Punjab. The BCCI ACU was the one who highlighted Dandiwal’s suspicious activities after he streamed a local T20 match in Mumbai and promoted it as a game played in Sri Lanka. This was a big catch for the ACU as they had been after Dandiwal since 2016.

ICC Can Work With Indian Government

Sri Lanka is currently the only cricketing nation to have put in place a law that criminalizes match fixing. The ICC and the Sri Lankan government worked together to come up with this law which hands out a 10 year prison sentence to match fixers. The law has been in place since 2019.

India being the biggest and most powerful cricketing nation in the world needs to take a leaf out of Sri Lanka’s book and pass a similar law. If India does listen to the pleas of the ICC and BCCI ACU, it will encourage other cricket playing nations to follow suit and protect the game of cricket from the evil of match fixing.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has strong political contacts to the current government but has so far not made it a priority to tackle match fixing during his term.

Ipl

India Bettors Will Be Disappointed With 2020 IPL Cancellation

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest and richest T20 domestic cricketing league in the world. The IPL has taken place every season for the last decade even through adverse circumstances and situations as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has always found a way to host this lucrative T20 competition.

The IPL usually runs for a period of 6 weeks and features the most exciting international and domestic T20 specialists from all over the world. The 2020 IPL was expected to commence at the end of this month and Indian cricket fans were looking forward to supporting their favorite IPL franchise while punters were eager to place their bets and see if they can come out on the winning side.

Will The IPL Start on April 15?

The BCCI and IPL governing committee made the decision earlier this month to postpone the start of the IPL due to the on-going concerns and restrictions brought about by COVID-19. A meeting was called with IPL franchise owners who made a decision to postpone the tournament and not take a risk on the health and safety of the players.

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly stated that the IPL will be postponed to April 15 and that his team will carefully monitor the situation and provide updates on a weekly basis. As of now, the IPL is still scheduled to start on April 15 but that appears highly unlikely as all the IPL franchises have cancelled their training camps and their overseas players are yet to travel to India.

Indian sports bettors remain hopeful that the 2020 IPL will take place even if it is a mini version of the tournament. The global situation will have to improve significantly in the next week, if the IPL is to commence on April 15 as the organizers and players will have just about a week to prepare themselves.

The BCCI confirmed earlier that the plan is to have the 2020 IPL take place in empty stadiums in order to protect players and fans. A number of IPL foreign players including Ben Stokes and Jos Butler continue to practice in England as they believe that a shortened version of the IPL will take place!

How Long Can The IPL Be Delayed?   

Indian cricket fans remain hopeful because a member of the BCCI who preferred to remain anonymous said that the IPL body can delay things till May 1 and still get into a mini-version of the tournament. The two most likely scenarios in this case will be to schedule double header matches each day. The earlier IPL schedule only had matches taking place in the evening due to the heat and humidity in India.

To get in as many matches as possible, the organizers will have to schedule 2 matches per day. The first will start around 2.30 pm IST and the second match will start at the usual 8 pm IST schedule time. The IPL teams will have to agree to play in difficult conditions in order to get the tournament underway.

The second scenario is for the IPL to reduce the number of games and still stick to the schedule of having just one game per day – during the evening. The usual IPL schedule has each IPL franchise playing the other franchise two times during the season and then the top four teams on the points table advance to the playoffs.

A shortened version will see the IPL make the decision to host a mini-tournament where each IPL franchise plays the other team just once. The points table will still be followed and the top four teams will go into the playoffs. Rumours suggest that the latest that the IPL championship final can be held in June 5.

Will The 2020 IPL Be Cancelled?

The big question is whether all of this will be possible or whether the 2020 IPL will be cancelled. As of now, India is on a completely lockdown till April 14 and it seems highly unlikely that we will get any cricket action in April. The BCCI and IPL governing body will wait till the last minute before taking a final call on the 2020 IPL. However, as of now it looks like the 2020 IPL will be cancelled and Indian bettors will not be able to place any bets on the 2020 IPL.