Match fixers nervous as Vincent cracks
Lou Vincent is about to become the most important member of New Zealand sport’s hall of shame.
The hall has a surprisingly large membership.
There are the sports stars jailed for assault, such as rugby league’s Russell Packer, Suaia Matagi, Dave Watson (a suspended jail term) and Shaun Metcalf.
There are the fraudsters who were jailed, including Keith Hancox (Sports Foundation), Kevin Herlihy (softball), Jeff Julian (athletics), Bruce Taylor (cricket) and Steve Pokere (rugby). Brent Todd (rugby league), another fraudster, got detention instead of jail after giving evidence against his coaccused.
We’ve had lots of drugs cheats, including marathon runner Liza Hunter- Galvan, sprinter Willie Hinchcliff, decathlete Simon Poelman, equestrian Jock Paget (in a case that is still playing out), basketballer Konrad Ross and pole vaulter Denis Petouchinski, who was defended by lawyer David Howman, now the head of the world anti-doping agency.
Some athletes have admitted they took steroids but were never caught, such as Graham May ( weightlifting) and Robin Tait (discus).
Some big fish have got away, like the sports agency boss who tried to heavy leading athletes to get on to ‘‘ a decent drugs programme’’, and the Commonwealth Games official who helped a guilty athlete avoid a drugs test and later boasted about it.
There have been tawdry scandals, such as when equestrian Mark Todd was caught in a British newspaper sting in 2000.
But by comparison with Vincent, they were all relatively minor.
Vincent’s excursion to the dark side, as a match fixer in cricket, will shake up world sport.
The Aucklander has told the International Cricket Council about helping to fix matches in New Zealand, South Africa, India and England. He named other guilty players and revealed how matches were fixed.
Either he has had a sudden attack of a guilty conscience, or he has come clean to try to avoid going to jail.
Either way, his revelations will hardly endear him to other guilty parties. No wonder he is in hiding and uncontactable.
The reverberations from his admissions will rock the cricket world. Watch for a string of bigname players and former players to admit their involvement when presented with irrefutable evidence.
The war against match fixing is like the war against banned drugs in sport – it is always extremely difficult to prove anything, even if you know bad things are happening.
Look at how long it took for one of the biggest cheats, cyclist Lance Armstrong, to finally concede he’d been lying for 15 years and that he actually was as guilty as so many people had claimed.
I remember the statement of Canadian sprinter Angella Issajenko during the Dubin inquiry in 1989.
The inquiry was called when Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson returned a positive test after he won the 100m Olympic gold medal in 1988.
‘‘We were always told that if we were ever caught, to deny, deny, deny,’’ said Issajenko. ‘‘I’m sick of it.’’
She came clean and her evidence was startling. It’s like that with Vincent. I’m in no way praising him. The man’s actions have been disgraceful.
But his evidence will turn out to have such massive consequences that he will become more famous than New Zealand cricketers who did greater things on the field.