Fixing the problem
Rick Parry told Sky Sports News HD it is "extraordinarily difficult" to keep track on illegal betting operations.
Last Updated: 30/08/10 1:50pm
Rick Parry has told Sky Sports News HD that it is "extraordinarily difficult" for authorities to keep track on illegal betting operations.
The former Liverpool chief executive was speaking following the allegations of 'spot-fixing' by Pakistan players in the fourth and final Test of the series against England at Lord's.
The News of the World alleged that some members of the Pakistan team had been paid to deliberately bowl no-balls during the match.
The story came as no surprise to Parry, who led an inquiry in February that recommended the setting up of a new unit to investigate corruption in betting.
"On the face of it, and of course we don't know the full details of the allegations just yet, this, as ever, involves the illegal Asian betting operations," he said.
"It's extraordinarily difficult for any regulatory authority, particularly one based in this country, to have a handle on what is going on over there.
"What we said in the report is that you need three elements. You need the integrity unit, because you need to be constantly vigilant to try and gather the evidence. Then you need very robust rules and disciplinary procedures and at the end of that, if players have been found to have transgressed, you need appropriate sanctions.
"People will be watching now to see how cricket responds."
Parry fears the controversy, which came about after reporters from the Sunday newspaper paid a middleman £150,000 in an undercover sting in return for exact details, is not an isolated incident.
"Is this a complete one-off? Almost certainly not. Does it mean the game is systematically corrupt? I'm sure it doesn't," he added.
"But it is distasteful, and something we could all do without."
The inquiry, commissioned by then sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, led to the Gambling Commission setting up the Sports Betting Integrity Unit.
"Clearly we're quite careful of the information we can release, but we do produce statistics and the last one I can quote is dated from November last year," Nick Tofiluk, the Gambling Commission's Director of Regulations, told Sky Sports News HD.
"Between the period of 1st of September 2007 and the 30th of September 2009, we received 71 cases of suspicious betting activities in sports, 46 of which from betting operators with 25 coming from other sources.
"It's important to look at what happened to those cases.
"With 38 of them the grounds were not substantiated to progress any further. Of the remaining 27 cases that were passed to the relevant sports governing bodies, on the basis that they are best placed to take matters forward, and we have retained six under active investigation."
When asked about how rife the problem may be, Tofiluk replied: "The scale of the problem isn't particularly well understood in terms of historical data.
"It's difficult to know whether that six poses the tip of the iceberg or perhaps what you would call an 'expected number'. We're working very closely with the police to get a sense of scale.
"It's very likely that some of these cases are reported directly to the police under other criminal activities. We're very keen to get an idea of the scope of the problem."