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.

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