An "alarming increase in the use, seizure and arrests for illicit drugs is the central finding of the Australian Crime Commission's annual report" released Monday, "with significant implications for sport, especially the professional football codes," according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. ACC CEO John Lawler said, ''The illicit drug market remains the principal source of profit for organized crime.'' Lawler said that "criminals infiltrate sports clubs and gain information or compromise players in exchange for illicit drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine, and use it to spot-bet or fix matches, capitalising on the myriad gambling outlets in Australia and overseas." The ACC's Illicit Drug Data Report 2011-12 stated that "while cannabis has remained the dominant illicit drug in the Australian market over the past decade, cocaine and amphetamines are the drugs of choice for professional footballers" (SMH, 5/20).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals "will file a criminal complaint against its three cricketers arrested for spot-fixing" even as a rattled Board of Control for Cricket in India said that "it would follow the rulebook before handing down punishment to the tainted trio, while unveiling measures to check corruption in the IPL," according to the PTI. BCCI President N. Srinivasan "promised to take strongest possible action against the players if they are found guilty." The BCCI appointed its Anti-Corruption Chief Ravi Sawani as the commissioner of inquiry and has told him to file his report "as soon as possible." Srinivasan said, "Everybody is innocent till proven guilty. The BCCI will not cover up for anybody but our actions must be fair. We will go through the process. If somebody is found guilty, we will act sternly." In a bid to check corruption, the BCCI chief said that "the Board will appoint anti-corruption officer with each of the IPL franchises along with a security officer to monitor players' movement." He also said that the players' agents will now be accredited by the Board (PTI, 5/19). The PTI also reported "in the wake of controversy over spot-fixing in IPL matches, the Sports Ministry has started holding consultations with the Law Ministry to draft a new law to deal with betting in sports." Law Minister Kapil Sibal said, "Yes, I talked to Jitendra Singh.... We will soon draft a new law to deal with the malice of betting" (PTI, 5/19).
MORE TROUBLE: THE HINDU reported Sreesanth "could be in fresh trouble." He "could be made an accused in another case of spot-fixing" in the IPL currently being probed by the Mumbai police. Joint Commissioner Himanshu Roy on Saturday said that "the Mumbai police may seek to interrogate Sreesanth after investigating details from his laptop and diary." Roy said that the court had given the police permission to obtain a "mirror image" of the laptop and Sreesanth's mobile phone (THE HINDU, 5/19). THE HINDU also reported the Shiv Sena on Friday expressed dismay over spot-fixing allegations, saying cricket, since the advent of the IPL, no longer remained "a gentleman's game" and had instead become "a gambling den that was destroying a generation." A comment in an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Samaana said, "The game has no connect with patriotism any longer." It said that while the IPL might have brought fame and money to many, it had also "spurred a gambling and sex racket in the country" (THE HINDU, 5/18).
NEW FEARS: The AFP reported the arrest "has prompted new fears over the growing influence of betting mafias on the game in the subcontinent and despair about the 'cancer' of corruption." Police behind the arrests say the trio was acting under orders from crime syndicates whose bosses are based in the Gulf. Commentators meanwhile said that "administrators from across South Asia have to share some of the blame for the growing list of scandals after failing to ostracise players who have previously been fingered by investigators." Cricket Historian Boria Majumdar said, "The spot-fixing cancer has spread far and wide and there is no cure unless authorities take strict action against players" (AFP, 5/18). ... The Indian BUSINESS STANDARD's Narasimhan & Babu wrote the Rajasthan Royals are to take legal action against the three players, "who were caught by the Police for alleged spot-fixing." Meanwhile, the BCCI "has decided to make rules more stringent and to conduct an internal inquiry on the alleged spot-fixing" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 5/19). The PTI reported Delhi police have asked hotels in Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Hyderabad "to provide CCTV footage to scan meetings of the three arrested cricketers with bookies in connection with the IPL." Police "are also planning to seek permission for collecting voice samples of the players" -- Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan (PTI, 5/19).
SHOW WILL GO ON: The PTI also reported unfazed by the IPL spot-fixing scandal, the event's Chair Rajiv Shukla on Saturday insisted that the Twenty20 tournament will "go on," saying the only way to cleanse cricket is to "weed out corrupt elements" from the game. Shukla said that "all cricketers should not suffer because of the misdeeds of some greedy individuals." Shukla: "IPL will go on. To say that IPL should be shut down because of these things is wrong" (PTI, 5/18). In Melbourne, Chloe Saltau wrote Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist "has called for life bans if the cricketers embroiled in the Indian spot-fixing scandal are found guilty, declaring ignorance and naivete can no longer be used as an excuse." Gilchrist: "I must prefix this by saying if at all it is true, it is very, very sad. ... For my mind, any player found involved in any implications where they are proven that they have handled illegal bookmakers' bets or whatever, there is no place for them in the game whatsoever ever again" (THE AGE, 5/18).
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has proposed that Formula One teams be able to sell chassis to each other, a shake-up that would save tens of millions of pounds," according to Christian Sylt of the London EXPRESS. The use of so-called "'customer cars' reflects the situation with F1’s engines, which are built by Cosworth, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault and sold to nine teams." However, it "would require the agreement of all of the teams and the sport’s governing body," the FIA. Williams Founder & Owner Frank Williams "is said to be against it." Ecclestone said, "I believe that customer cars will be a good thing. Everybody needs to agree to that, but Frank Williams is the one who is against it." The current requirement for teams to be a "constructor" comprises the bulk of their research and development costs. The proposed change from Ecclestone "would give the chassis sellers additional income while the weaker outfits would save development costs and gain a more competitive car" (EXPRESS, 5/19).