Recently, the Supreme Court gave its nod to recommendations by the Justice RM Lodha Committee for reforms in the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Supreme Court delivered its landmark judgment on July 18 but the question on how Indian law will deal with match-fixing and corruption in cricket—and sports in general—is yet to be answered. The Sports Fraud Bill 2013, which stipulates the jail term for officials, sportspersons and entities involved in corrupt practices in sport, is yet to be discussed in the Cabinet or the Parliament.
The Bill, which was drafted in the aftermath of the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) match-fixing scandal in which three Rajasthan Royals players—S Sreesant , Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila—were arrested for their alleged role, is unlikely to be discussed in the Parliament in the ongoing monsoon session. HT has learnt that the Law Ministry has sent this bill to the Attorney General’s office for advice.
The proposed Bill contains provisions to dish out five to six years of imprisonment to those, including private companies (read: IPL teams), directly or indirectly indulging in or attempting any sporting fraud. It clearly defines ‘inside information’ and ‘sporting fraud’ and states that ‘manipulation or attempt to manipulate result(s), irrespective of whether the outcome is actually altered or not’, will incur a jail term. Besides, ‘willfully failing to perform to his or her true potential for economic or any other advantage or benefit for oneself or for any other sports’ will also be punishable.
With many private sports leagues mushrooming in India, the expert panel, while drafting the Bill, had incorporated everything required to bring all the sporting entities in the country (including the foreign players involved in these leagues) under it.
Countries such as Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Denmark already have laws for prevention of sporting frauds since betting is legal there. The punishment for offences includes imprisonment and financial penalties. Many aspects in the Sports Fraud Bill 2013 have been adopted after studying the laws in these countries, especially Australia.