Essex player admits to spot fixing

Essex player admits to spot fixing

A former English county cricketer pleaded guilty on Thursday to agreeing to take money to bowl badly in a televised match in 2009 in the latest "spot fixing" scandal to hit the sport.

In November, a British court jailed three Pakistani Test cricketers for fixing parts of a match in England in 2010 and this latest case will raise fresh concerns about connections between cricket and illegal gambling circles.

Mervyn Westfield, who played for Essex, admitted agreeing to allow 12 runs to come off his opening over in a 40-over match against Durham in September 2009 in return for a 6,000 pound payment. In the event, only 10 runs were scored off the over.
Judge Anthony Morris said that the name of the other party involved in the deal would be known to cricket fans, but it was not revealed in court, Britain's ‘Press Association’ news agency reported.

The judge warned Westfield that he could be jailed when he is sentenced on February 10. "It's open to the court in this case to pass an immediate custodial sentence," Morris told Westfield during a hearing at the Old Bailey, London's Central Criminal Court.

Essex, the International Cricket Council, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and the UK Gambling Commission all helped the police to investigate the case. "We hope that this sends a strong message to professional sportsmen and women around the country — if they intend to get involved in spot fixing, or think that match fixing is not a crime, then they need to think again," said Paul Lopez, a detective sergeant with Essex Police.

Former England captain Mike Brearley said this week that eradicating corruption from the game was probably impossible but that was no reason to stop trying.