Vincent handed life ban

  • Last Updated: July 2 2014, 9:14 BST

Former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent has been handed a life ban after he admitted that he breached the England and Wales Cricket Board's anti-corruption regulations.

Lou Vincent: Banned from all cricket for life
Lou Vincent: Banned from all cricket for life

The 35-year-old, who played at Sussex in 2011 and was under investigation by the ECB, pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of the regulations in total, four of those breaches related to a Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Durham in June 2008.

The remaining 14 charges related to two matches played at Hove in August 2011, namely a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 match and a Sussex v Kent CB40 match.

The ECB confirmed on Tuesday morning that Vincent has accepted an agreed sanction of a life ban from all forms of cricket, in the form of concurrent life bans for each of the 11 offences which carried a life ban.

ECB chief executive David Collier said: "This has been a complex case which has crossed different cricketing jurisdictions and required close collaboration and intelligence-sharing between both our own anti-corruption unit, other domestic boards and the ICC's ACSU.

"We are extremely pleased that the matter has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion and that an individual who repeatedly sought to involve others in corrupt activity for his own personal gain has accepted that his conduct warrants a lifetime ban from cricket.

"It once again highlights our resolve to keep cricket clean and rid the game of the tiny minority who seek to undermine the sport's integrity."

The terms of Vincent's ban will prevent him from playing, coaching or participating in any form of cricket which is recognised or sanctioned by ECB, the International Cricket Council (ICC) or any other National Cricket Federation.

On Tuesday morning, Vincent broke his silence and admitted in a statement released to the New Zealand media that he was a cheat.

He admitted his involvement in match-fixing while playing in limited overs cricket for Lancashire and Sussex and also confessed to the ICC's anti-corruption unit of fixing in the Indian Cricket League and while playing for the Auckland Aces in the Twenty20 Champions League in South Africa two years ago.

In a statement released to New Zealand media, Vincent took full responsibility for his actions and said he would accept his punishment.

"My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat," the statement began,

"I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money in fixing.

"I have lived with this dark secret for so many years, but months ago I reached the point where I decided I had to come forward and tell the truth.

"It's a truth that has rightly caused uproar and controversy in New Zealand and around the world. I have shamed my country, I have shamed my sport, I have shamed those close to me. And for that, I am not proud.

"I lost faith in myself, in the game, I abused the game I loved. I had to put things right.

"Speaking out, exposing the truth, laying bare the things I have done wrong, is the only way I could find to begin to put things right.

"The time has come for me now to face them like a man and accept the consequences - whatever they may be."

Vincent said the support of his wife Susie had allowed him to face up to what he had done and to confess to his family and the authorities.

"I can finally look my children in the eyes and tell them that honesty is the best policy - even if it feels like the hardest thing to do at times," he said.

"I now believe in myself as a person again and I don't wake up every morning hating myself.

"Today is the day I offer my deepest, deepest apologies to the public and the cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff, players past and present.

"I apologise to and thank the (anti-corruption and security unit) ACSU for the help and support that is out there for all players, that has helped me a great deal."

Vincent also stressed that the fact he suffered from depression was no excuse for his wrongdoing and said he would always regret his dishonest actions.

He added: "The people who know me know I'm vulnerable, but they also know that I am not stupid. And I know what is right and what is wrong.

"I do suffer from depression - that is absolutely no excuse for all I've done wrong.

"I used to think mistakes were made by bad people, but now I even know that good people can make the worst of mistakes.

"My actions I will regret for the rest of my life."

Vincent was one of three former New Zealand internationals that were revealed as being investigated by the ICC's anti-corruption unit. Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

His life ban means Vincent cannot earn a living from the sport in any capacity and he hopes his admittance of guilt will sway others from making the same mistakes.

He said: "It is entirely my fault and I'll never be able to stand in front of a game again.

"It's entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers, but it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing.

"To do the right thing for themselves, for family and friends and for the sport they love.

"I accept my punishment."

ICC chief executive David Richardson backed the decision of a life ban handed down by the ECB and hopes the punishment sends out a strong message to those who choose to cheat.

He said: "The ICC endorses the decisions of the CLT20 and ECB to impose life bans on Lou Vincent.

"The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and these life bans, together with the life ban recently imposed by the ECB on Naveed Arif, should send out a loud and clear message to all those who indulge in corrupt practices and think they can get away with it."

Richardson praised the CA, BCCI, ECB and ICC's anti-corruption units for a successful prosecution, adding: "Whilst the strategy of the anti-corruption units remains focused on education, prevention and disruption of efforts to corrupt, in those small number of instances where suspicious activity is uncovered, no stone will be left unturned to bring those involved to justice.

"These unscrupulous corruptors and small group of greedy individuals should not be permitted to destroy the game for the overwhelming majority who play the game as they should, and the fans across the world.

"The Vincent admission and subsequent prosecutions only came about as a result of a difficult and painstaking multi-jurisdictional investigation involving excellent collaborative work between the anti-corruption units of CA, ECB, BCCI and the ICC."

In regard to Vincent owning up to his wrongdoing, Richardson added: "We also note the sentiments expressed in the statement of Lou Vincent and commend him for having the courage to finally tell the truth and to co-operate with the investigations.

"I encourage all the players to note how engagement in this type of activity can destroy careers and lives."

Sussex chief executive Zac Toumazi also supported the ECB sanction and hopes his county can move forward after both Vincent and Naved Arif, who played for the county in 2011-2012, received life bans this summer.

Toumazi released a statement on his club's official website sussexcricket.co.uk, saying: "In response to the ECB's announcement of a life ban from cricket for Lou Vincent, Sussex County Cricket Club can confirm that we have co-operated fully with the ECB ACSU and welcome the sanction imposed.

"The episode has been a very difficult time for our players, staff and indeed all supporters of Sussex Cricket.

"We are determined to do all we can to drive this issue away from our game and remain vigilant and committed in doing so.

"We are grateful for the many messages of support received when this issue became public from those that truly care about Sussex Cricket and the game that we all love. It is critical that we understand that this was the behaviour of individuals and not the club.

"It is time for us to look forward to the future and strive for success on and off the field of play."