New Zealand Makes Match-Fixing a Crime with a 7-Year Jail Term

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New Zealand's McCullum celebrates scoring 200 runs on day two of the first international test cricket match against India in Auckland
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum celebrates scoring 200 runs on day two of the first international test cricket match against India at Eden Park in Auckland February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

New Zealand has passed a bill in Parliament that will make match-fixing a criminal offence with a penalty of seven years in jail if convicted.

The proposed bill passed the first reading in Parliament following a former cricket player's admission of fixing games. Under the Crimes Act, match-fixing will be classified as a form of deception, which is an offence for causing a loss or benefit to certain parties or individuals.

New Zealand Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully said match-fixing has become a growing problem in international sporting competitions. The unethical practice has been as described as a "threat to the integrity, value and growth" of a sport.

The Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment bill has passed first reading with a unanimous vote.

McCully said New Zealand is not immune to the problem as the world had seen from former Kiwi cricket international player Lou Vincent's confession in early 2014. After he was found guilty, Vincent was sanctioned a lifetime ban from playing cricket.

Reports had noted that the biggest blow to New Zealand may be the bribery allegations against top cricket players. Vincent was charged with 14 offences for the alleged fixing of English county matches. The England Cricket Board ruled based on its anti-corruption code.

Vincent said in a statement that he "remains accountable for his actions" and has not denied the allegations of game fixing.

According to reports, other players involved in unethical conduct were subjected to an investigation, including the country's former national hero Chris Cairns who has denied any wrongdoing.

Cairns, a former Black Caps player, and Darryl Tuffey were both involved in a match-fixing investigation by the International Cricket Council, but both have denied the allegations made against them.

The match-fixing bill will be passed into law in 2015 before the Cricket World Cup and Fifa Under-20 World Cup are held in New Zealand.

According to an International Centre for Sport Security report, about US$140 billion is being laundered every year through sports betting which made 80 per cent of the money "illegal."

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