The England and Wales Cricket Board's press release regarding the verdict on Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield.
Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield Sanctions Hearing
1. An ECB Cricket Discipline Commission Panel comprising Gerard Elias QC (Chairman), David Gabbitass and Jamie Dalrymple convened at the offices of Sport Resolutions UK on Friday 22nd June 2012 to consider the appropriate sanction applicable to 2 charges found proved in relation to Danish Kaneria and one charge admitted by Mervyn Westfield.
1. Self evidently, corruption, specifically spot fixing, in cricket or any other sport for that matter, is a cancer that eats at the health and very existence of the game. For the general public, supporting the game and their team within it, there is no merit or motivation to expend time, money or effort to watch a match whose integrity may be in doubt. The consequences of the public’s disengagement from cricket would be catastrophic.
2. Furthermore, the game of cricket simply cannot afford to have its reputation tarnished in the eyes of commercial partners. These partners could not and would not link their brand to a sport whose integrity had been so undermined.
3. For players who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of hard fought and properly competitive sport, to have those genuine achievements called into question by the corrupt actions of a tiny minority, may tend to devalue their worth.
4. Accordingly, we have no doubt that this is a cancer which must be rooted out of the game of cricket.
5. As a result of this in relation to domestic cricket the ECB and the PCA have introduced programmes of training and education such that in 2012 there are in place for all county cricketers appropriate safeguards in the area of match fixing and corruption. These were not in place in 2009.
6. In reaching our conclusions, we have had regard to the authorities placed before us in relation to sanctions imposed for corrupt activity in sport.
7. We sentence for 2 offences. As we have found, they involve the deliberate corruption of a young and vulnerable player and, we are satisfied, various attempts to involve others in the net of corruption. As a senior international player of repute he plainly betrayed the trust reposed in him in his dealings with fellow team mates and we regard his persistent efforts to recruit spot fixers as being a seriously aggravating factor in his case.
8. Significant sums of money doubtless flow from corrupt activities such as those which we have examined this week, and we have no doubt that those involved in making such corrupt financial gains spare no thought either for those they corrupt or for the integrity of the game.
9. Kaneria has made no admission, has shown no remorse and sought to cast blame on other plainly innocent persons.
10. In all these circumstances, we regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities. Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose. This means from today Danish Kaneria is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organisation or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB.
11. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to indicate that were Westfield to have committed the offence to which he pleaded guilty, in 2012 - when the education and training programmes were in place – on a fully contested basis, we would have imposed a suspension of 9 years. Let no one underestimate the seriousness of failing to perform - or agreeing so to do – on ones merits.
12. We bear in mind the fact that his conduct occurred in 2009, that he was targeted and pressurised by a senior team mate. To the ECB’s charge he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and is entitled to significant credit for that.
13. His evidence to this Panel was the core evidence which has exposed and led to the conviction of Kaneria and we accept that this has taken some courage.
14. We bear in mind also all the matters urged upon us by Mark Milliken-Smith QC with regard to his character and we note his stated willingness to assist PCA in any future anti corruption education programme.
15. Accordingly, we conclude that the appropriate sanction is
Suspension from involvement in all cricket under the auspices of the ECB for 5 years but we shall, exceptionally, mitigate that penalty by permitting him to participate in club cricket on terms which will be set out in detail in our written ruling* for the last 2 years of that suspension period.
This suspension in relation to Westfield is effective from 17th February 2012.
*In relation to Mervyn Westfield, the Panel have imposed a suspension of 5 years. For the first 3 years, this suspension applies to any involvement in cricket under ECB jurisdiction at any level including playing, coaching and administration. For the final 2 years, the suspension applies only to cricket in any Team England and First-Class County cricket environment including First-Class County Second Xl, Unicorns or any other team participating in ECB First Xl or Second Xl competitions, Minor County cricket and any involvement in First-Class County Academy or age-group cricket.
Gerard Elias QC
Jamie Dalrymple 22 06 2012