Bell: We can stamp out corruption

The Bolton News: Ian Bell believes more can be done in the fight against spot-fixing Ian Bell believes more can be done in the fight against spot-fixing

England batsman Ian Bell has suggested more could be done in county cricket to combat the threat of corruption.

On international days, players must hand in their mobile phones to a team security official at the start of each day, collecting them at the close of play, while only designated staff may have access to the internet.

It is part of the effort to stamp out spot-fixing, the practice of making certain a specific event happens at a specific moment so sums can be wagered.

"In county games there is nothing," said Warwickshire batsman Bell, speaking at an event with England's Test sponsor Investec.

"There are no rules in place as far as I'm aware. There are no rules or regs in county cricket to say you can't do anything (with your phone).

"I haven't seen anything at Warwickshire that helps the guys or helps them understand or gives them any more advice. Maybe there is more that can be done at domestic level."

An England and Wales Cricket Board spokesperson confirmed there are no such procedures in place in the county game.

An ECB spokesman said: "We don't feel the need to take away players' mobile phones or laptops at televised county matches. It is a judgement call made by the anti-corruption unit.

"We are constantly vigilant but don't believe corruption is endemic in county cricket. We take measures proportional to the level of threat.

"The ECB's anti-corruption unit is very active around televised county matches. Chris Watts set up the unit in 2011 and his team has been strengthened so that there are now seven anti-corruption officers who work on the domestic programme.

"They are a physical presence at every televised match and frequently go into dressing-rooms and talk to players.

"We certainly can't be complacent. The Mervyn Westfield affair showed that some players - and particularly young players - can be vulnerable."

Bell was speaking at Lord's, the scene of the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal of four years' ago.

The issue of spot-fixing - for which Westfield was jailed in 2012 - has resurfaced following revelations from former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent this week.

Bell added: "It's the cancer of the game that needs to be eradicated.

"It's frustrating to see it cropping (up) again. Lou Vincent is saying that it's in five different countries that he's played in. That's unbelievable."

Bell is not personally aware of any incidents, but believes players must make a strong stand to preserve the integrity of the sport.

"I've never seen it (fixing)," he added.

"The more action that is taken and the more we can stamp it out the better.

"Seeing people getting the right penalties for a massive wrongdoing in the game, it's important that we have that.

"Whether it's a dream world that it is all going to be cleared up - but I'd like to think it will be.

"As long as the players can stay strong and stick together to try as hard as they can to get it out of the game, then that's got to be a good thing as well."

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