Make fixing a criminal offence, says Rahul Dravid

Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid has called for making match-fixing and spot-fixing a criminal offence since only a strong law can serve as a huge deterrent to potential fixers

Dravid suggested a two-pronged approach to curb the menace of match-fixing and spot-fixing, saying making these illegal activities a criminal offence and educating cricketers at the junior level should be the first step.
“My personal belief is that education and counselling at a junior level is really important,” Dravid said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo, around three months after three of his Rajasthan Royals’ team-mates were arrested for alleged spot-fixing in the sixth edition of the IPL. “I think we’ve got to start early, we’ve got to start young but … that part of it is already being done. I know that India has its own ACSU and even for Ranji Trophy teams this education is given,” he added.

The 40-year-old former cricketer said along with creating awareness, it was important to make stringent laws to create fear among potential fixers. “I don’t think only education can work, policing it and having the right laws and ensuring that people when they indulge in this kind of activities are actually punished. People must see that there are consequences to your actions. That will create fear for people,” Dravid said.

“For example, look back on the doping in cycling. Everyone knows it’s wrong and it’s frightening having read a little about it and the number of cyclists who were doing it. Surely everyone knows it’s wrong. “So the only people cyclists were scared of was not the testers, not the (cycling) authority, they were scared of the police. You read all the articles, the only guys they were scared of was the police and going to jail. So the only way that people are going to get that fear is if they know the consequences to these actions and the law that will come into play. It has got to be a criminal offence,” he added.

S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila are the three Rajasthan Royals cricketers who were arrested on allegations of spot-fixing and also charge-sheeted under the strict Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). “The case is still on and I don’t want to make any judgement on whether people are guilty or not and I think everyone has a right to be innocent until he’s proven guilty and I’m glad the police is going ahead and doing what needs to be done and taking it to its logical conclusion,” Dravid said.

The former batsman said it is the police who can bring the guilty to book but feels the cricket administrators need to work with the police to curb the menace and protect the interest of the game.