Retired South African cricket boss Dr Ali Bacher claims he was reprimanded at an ICC [ Images ] meeting for raising the issue of match-fixing in the 1990s.
On the 10th anniversary of the revelations of match-fixing by the then South African captain Hansie Cronje [ Images ], Bacher said there was "casual talk" about the issue in the 1990s, which was not seriously addressed by the ICC as no one could provide proof of it.
"I brought it up during ICC meetings in 1996 and 1999, but the conversation did not last long nor was it recorded in the minutes. But I still remember Sir Clyde Walcott, who was President of the ICC in 1996, saying, 'Where there's smoke there's fire'," Bacher told the weekly Sunday Independent.
"I also remember being reprimanded after a meeting for having brought it up at least more than once in the public domain," he added.
Bacher said players were naive at that time and got easily lured by money. "Players were young at the time and very naive, but the important thing was that that they were not getting paid a lot of money for their services," he said.
"Hence match-fixing and involvement with bookies was prevalent at the time, but in a different format, as spread-betting required one to forecast elements in the game such as who would bowl the first ball or who would hit the first six in a game," he added.
Bacher admitted that he had initially believed Cronje to be innocent. Bacher felt Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2000, was trying to find a way out of his involvement with bookies by signing up with English county side Glamorgan without consulting the South Africa's [ Images ] cricket board.
"We took up the issue with Glamorgan and got him out of the contract, but the questions remain unanswered; why did he do this? Was it because the bookies were blackmailing him?" he said.