ICC ACU - Overview

Alex Marshall, General Manager ICC ACU & Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chairman ICC ACU
Alex Marshall, General Manager ICC ACU & Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chairman ICC ACU

The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) aims to provide a coordinated and effective capability to protect all cricket played under the auspices of the ICC and its Members from corruption.

Since the ICC ACU’s inception, awareness and responses to corruption in sport globally has grown and improved considerably, however, corruption continues to plague many sports, most notably football (soccer), tennis and cricket. No sport is immune from this issue.

Corruption in Cricket
Ultimately, corruption in sports exists because of the ability to make significant profits by betting on the result of a match or a specific part of the match when the outcome has been predetermined through a fix. Betting occurs on both the illegal, unregulated markets (predominantly in the sub-continent where betting is a crime) and the regulated markets, which are facilitated by the growth in online gambling including via mobile phone apps.

Advancing technology and increasing popularity have led to a substantial increase in the amount, and the sophistication, of betting on cricket matches. The development of new betting products, including spread-betting and betting exchanges, as well as internet and phone accounts that allow people to place a bet at any time and from any place, even after a cricket match has started, have all increased the potential for the development of corrupt betting practices. That, in turn, increases the risk that attempts will be made to involve Participants in such practices. This can create a perception that the integrity of the sport is under threat. In general, gambling on sports continues to have implications for the integrity of sports, but its’ role in sports corruption is often misunderstood.

Investigations continue to highlight the use of former and current players (‘trusted insiders’) to recruit players, involvement of known corruptors (‘repeat offenders’), and the various measures taken to avoid detection. In-line with global changes in communication methods, popular social media and communication apps are being used to facilitate corruption.

Prevention, including education, sound intelligence and investigation processes, and working together remains critical in the fight against corruption in cricket.

ICC ACU Priorities & Principles
Despite efforts within cricket to tackle the risk of corruption to the game, it is clear that the risk persists and will continue to be a major threat to the integrity of the game. It is for these reasons that the ICC's ACU continues to pursue (in the following order of priority) the strategy of:

  • Prevention
  • Disruption
  • Investigation
  • Prosecution

In ongoing efforts to be a world leader in the fight against corruption in sports, the ICC ACU has developed robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to ensure professionalism, transparency and uniformity in its work.

The following five principles underpin all the measures being taken to protect cricket from corruption:

  • Effective partnerships
  • Enhanced information gathering and analytical capability
  • Improved coordination and communication
  • Consistent prevention and education
  • Proactive investigation and prosecution

Based within the ICC offices in Dubai, the ICC ACU is led by former British policeman, Alex Marshall. Prior to taking up the role of ICC ACU General Manager, Alex was the Chief Executive of the ‘College of Policing’ which is the professional body for police in England and Wales.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, one of the United Kingdom's most senior former policemen, is the Chairman of the ICC ACU. Through this role, Sir Ronnie provides sound guidance and support to the team and wider cricket anti-corruption network.

As the focal point for anti-corruption activities across all cricket, the ICC ACU works closely with the various Domestic Cricket ACUs. The ICC ACU in Dubai serves as the central information hub for all intelligence gathered by the ICC ACU and the Domestic Units. Comprising former law enforcement professionals, the ICC ACU Intelligence and Investigations staff explore allegations of corrupt activity thoroughly, sometimes with the assistance of various law enforcement and/or the Domestic Units.

The ICC ACU also has Anti-Corruption Managers (ACMs) based around the world to help coordinate the ICC ACU’s prevention measures. These experienced law enforcement officers from India, South Africa, Australia and England are present at international matches to provide education and awareness to participants, collect information / intelligence and ensure that the PMOA minimum standards are enforced at all venues.

The ACU Network
The ICC ACU have an unwavering commitment to protect all formats of international cricket played under the auspices of the ICC and its Members. While the ICC ACU takes primary responsibility for protecting the international game, protecting domestic cricket is the primary responsibility of the ICC Full Member Domestic Board ACUs.

Each of these Domestic Units have each adopted their own Anti-Corruption Codes (modelled from the ICC Anti-Corruption Code) which governs players in certain standards of domestic cricket.

Current Domestic Board ACUs:

  • Cricket South Africa (CSA)
  • Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC)
  • Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)
  • Cricket West Indies (CWI)
  • Pakistan Cricket (PCB)
  • Cricket Australia (CA)
  • New Zealand Cricket (NZC)
  • England & Wales Cricket (ECB)
  • Bangladesh Cricket (BCB)
  • Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI)

Additionally, in June 2017 the ICC Board granted Full Member status to Ireland and Afghanistan. These two members are currently in the process of embedding domestic anti-corruption regulations and processes within their domestic jurisdiction.

To further assist with efforts to protect ALL cricket, efforts are also being made by the ICC ACU to expand cricket’s anti-corruption network by establishing 'anti-corruption point of contacts' with each Associate Member. This will significantly expand the network’s sphere of influence and further aide in the prevention and awareness of corruption globally, thus addressing the very real risk which exists across all cricket.