Today, Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be convicted of ‘corruptly accepting or obtaining, or agreeing to accept or obtain, corrupt payments’ for his part in on field corruption in a Pro-40 match between Essex and Durham back in 2009.
The first thought that came into my head is that he probably isn’t the only English (or county) player who has got involved in something like this.
Westfield’s crimes would have been committed long before the Pakistani trio’s conviction, and I doubt very much at the time that he thought he could end up in jail for accepting a £6K bribe.
But jail is probably where he is heading. A precedent of sorts was set with the Pakistani trio, although I’m not sure of the circumstances regarding Westfield’s confession.
For example Butt and Asif denied everything to the very bitter end, while Amir’s confession wasn’t deemed sincere enough by the judge to gain him any leniency in sentencing. So that’s part of the reason why those three got what seemed harsh sentences.
The sincerity of Westfield’s confession, whether or not he is prepared to spill the beans, etc, could depend on the outcome of his sentence.
The problem now though is that if he gets away with a custodial sentence, people will cry foul play – one rule for the Brits, and another for the foreigners. And who could blame them?
It is also very embarrassing the the English cricketing fraternity, for years now they/we have claimed the morale high ground, how everyone else is under suspicion, but we are cleaner than clean. That image has now also been smashed, and as I eluded too in the title of this post, how many more could there be?
I’m not naive enough to think Westfield is the only one, and at the same time I’m sure there is plenty more international cricketers (of all nationality’s) still out there playing who have plenty to hide.
The thing that struck me the most though, is what he has thrown away, and all for six grand. What he has done is the equivalent of going into his local Curry’s or Comet store with a sawn off shotgun and holding it up, just to rob a three hundred quid TV – It is such an out of proportion payment for the risks involved.
I do actually think that maybe Westfield didn’t understand the magnitude of his actions. If he was confident enough to show a team mate the money (as he is alleged to have done) and told him how he got it, then he either didn’t realise how serious this was, or he is totally stupid.
And to finish, I heard on the radio report today about this case that Westfield was mixed up with a man well known in cricketing circles who is believed to have influenced him in this direction.
Well who is this man and why isn’t he been outed? Let’s hope the reason for the silence is because the police are close to pulling him in.