'Children in under age cricket being targeted by betting mafia' | cricket | Hindustan Times
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'Children in under age cricket being targeted by betting mafia'

International Players' Union chief Tim May fears the betting mafia might be targetting children in under-age cricket tournaments to get them involved in corruption at the senior level.

cricket Updated: Sep 13, 2010 13:13 IST

International Players' Union chief Tim May fears the betting mafia might be targetting children in under-age cricket tournaments to get them involved in corruption at the senior level.

"We understand players are being increasingly targetted at under-age tournaments by the various elements that are floating around the game," he was quoted as saying.

"We're continually told that once you're in (involved in corruption) you can't get out so it's no surprise that young players are coming under pressure. We regularly talk about the importance of player education among international players, but this has to filter down to those playing at domestic level and also at the various age groups underneath," he said.

Pakistan's 18-year-old pacer Mohammed Aamir, who is the youngest bowler to take 50 Test wickets, currently finds himself at the center of a spot-fixing row which has led to his suspension along with his Test skipper Salman Butt and fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif.

May said youngsters are vulnerable and it does not really matter whether they come from Pakistan or any other country. "It would be naive to think that this issue is confined to Pakistan. Recently we've seen reports of Bangladeshi players and Australian players coming out and saying they've been approached by bookmakers in the recent past."

"This would appear to indicate that they're not solely concerned with Pakistan players," he said. Head of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) Angus Porter echoed May's views and said players have to be educated throughly on the matter.

"We're trying to educate young players of the risk that they run by not being careful of who they accept as friends on
social networking sites and who they give access to personal and private information," he said. "This can then lead to the establishment of a relationship that might be innocent to begin with but then might involve certain favours.

"There is a danger people can be led astray and led into bad habits. It would be wrong to be complacent," he added.