sport

Life ban for ashamed Vincent

Former Sussex and New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent has been banned for life after admitting breaching the England and Wales Cricket Board CB anti-corruption regulations.

In a video statement released on Tuesday, the 35-year-old said his activities were a "dark secret" he lived with for many years and that it was time to "face them like a man and accept the consequences".

Vincent 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 - a Sussex v Lancashire Twenty20 match and a Sussex v Kent CB40 match.

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

Vincent's previous admissions of fixing, made to International Cricket Council investigators and publicly leaked, were shocking in their revelation of wide-scale fixing in competitions which included English county cricket and the Champions Trophy.

On Tuesday Vincent revealed his remorse and reflections on the case for the first time and said: "I am a cheat. I have abused my position as a professional sportsman on a number of occasions by choosing to accept money through fixing.

"I have lived with this dark secret for many years, but just 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. For that I am not proud. I lost faith in myself and the game .I abused the game I love. I had to put things right. Speaking out. Exposing the truth. Laying bare the things I have done wrong is the only way I can find to begin to put things right.

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

In the Kent game three years ago under investigation, Vincent was run out for one off seven balls, while Arif conceded 41 runs with no wickets in six overs, including two wides.

ECB chief Paul Downton said at the time: "It's something we take extremely seriously. It's an enormous concern. Match-fixing is potentially a cancer for any sport."

Vincent played 23 Test matches and 102 one-day internationals for New Zealand before retiring from international cricket to become a Twenty20 specialist.

His statement added: "I am proud of those I love. Especially my immediate family and friends Their strength, support and forgiveness has enabled me to address some deep and uncomfortable issues in my life.

"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 of things to do at times. I now believe in myself as a person again and do not wake up every morning hating myself.

"Today is the day I offer my deepest apologies to the public and cricketing world, to the loyal fans, to the dedicated coaches, staff and all players past and present. The people who know me know I am vulnerable. But they also know I am not stupid and that I know what is right and what is wrong. I do suffer from depression but it is absolutely no reason or excuse for all I have done wrong.

"I used to think mistakes were the actions of bad people. I now know even good people can make the worst of mistakes . My actions,I will regret for the rest of my life.

"For sport to prosper, it is up to the players to police the game, because they are the ones that will ultimately lose out if they allow themselves to be used as pawns to make money.

"No one should ever be put in that position. And no one should ever allow themselves to forget what sport is about and let money rule their decisions. The decisions I made were wrong. Players must be better than that. Above reproach. For the fans. For the sport.

"For the first time in a very long time I feel positive about the future because I am finally becoming the man I wanted to be. I have to face up to my wrongs to make them right."

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."