Warn­ings over Women’s Ashes be­ing tar­geted by match-fix­ers

The Guardian - Sport - - Front Page - Tim Wig­more

Se­nior fig­ures in world cricket have warned of the grow­ing threat of cor­rup­tion within the “vul­ner­a­ble” women’s game, with an ex­plo­sion in in­ter­est mak­ing it more at­trac­tive to fix­ers.

The warn­ings come in the wake of a suc­cess­ful World Cup and as Eng­land pre­pare in Aus­tralia for the Women’s Ashes, which be­gins on 22 Oc­to­ber. Tony Ir­ish, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of in­ter­na­tional cricket’s play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, warned that the women’s game is par­tic­u­larly at risk.

“Women’s cricket is re­ceiv­ing more at­ten­tion and is more and more on TV so it is likely to be tar­geted,” Ir­ish said, ex­press­ing con­cern about how the qual­ity of an­ticor­rup­tion mea­sures dif­fers be­tween na­tions. “As with the men’s game there are very dif­fer­ent stan­dards of anti-cor­rup­tion ed­u­ca­tion re­ceived by women across the world.”

In July, the Women’s World Cup fi­nal at Lord’s had £78m traded on it on Bet­fair – 8.5 times more than the 2013 fi­nal. More than 150 dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tors world­wide of­fered bet­ting mar­kets for the tour­na­ment, ac­cord­ing to sports data com­pany Spor­tradar. So far in 2017, the sums bets on women’s cricket with Lad­brokes are 43% greater than in all of 2016, with the Ashes still to come. In­dus­try in­sid­ers have high­lighted how the ex­tra liq­uid­ity in bet­ting mar­kets for women’s cricket is cre­at­ing po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties for cor­rup­tors.

Ir­ish called on the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil to do more to safe­guard the in­tegrity of the sport for both gen­ders. “There is no global ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme for play­ers, ei­ther men or women, and not much ap­petite from the ICC to in­tro­duce one. That’s a huge con­cern for us, es­pe­cially with more and more men and women mov­ing around the world play­ing in dif­fer­ent do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tions.”

The ICC’s anti-cor­rup­tion unit is in charge of mon­i­tor­ing in­ter­na­tional cricket across both gen­ders, and was an ac­tive pres­ence at the Women’s World Cup. But

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