“My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat,” began the lengthy, earnest statement given by New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent at the start of July. He then said, “I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing.” Read more about his statement here. The 35 year old Vincent, who has been in and out of the New Zealand national side since his debut in 2001, confessed openly and of his own accord to 18 breaches of ECB regulations, the majority of which related to match fixing
The charges against Vincent related to match-fixing or deliberate under-performing in dozens of professional matches over a prolonged period of time. Four of the breaches related to a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham in June 2008, with the remainder of breaches linked to incidents up until 2012 in the Indian Cricket League, the ECB40, the Bangladesh Premier League and the Champions League Twenty20. Vincent, who was being investigated alongside other players for a number of offences, approached the ECB will a full confession, after years of living in guilt.
Vincent accepts ban
The response from the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) has been a lifetime ban for Vincent across all forms of the game, including the ability to coach any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by the ECB, ICC (International Cricket Council) or any other National Cricket Federation. As disheartening as the sentence may be for Vincent (he had long held plans to coach cricket to children after retiring), he accepts that it is a fair and just one that reflects the severity of his offences over a number of years.
Maintaining the spirit of the game
Vincent is by no means to first to be banned for life through match-fixing. South African international Hansie Cronje suffered a similar fate when he was banned for match-fixing in 2000. What is important about these incidents is what future cricketers learn from them. You can have the finest willow cricket back from Talent Cricket and all the skill in the world. But if you can’t maintain the spirit of the game, you’re lost as a sportsman.