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ICC mulls appointment of new ACSU chief

London: The appointment of a new anti-corruption supremo will be discussed at a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the Indian Premier League (IPL) final in Bangalore.

ICC officials sounded out the England and Wales Cricket Board in Manchester and London last week and will meet Cricket Australia in India on Sunday as part of the latest talks about the restructuring of the anti-corruption unit.

It is understood that high on the agenda is the future appointment of a new full time policeman to coordinate the worldwide fight against fixing.

At the moment, Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), is contracted to work five days a month for the ICC, and while he commands respect for his abilities as a policeman, senior figures within the board believe they now need a full-time head dedicated to leading the anti-corruption drive.

Flanagan, who could be a candidate for the new role, currently juggles his ICC job with working for the Abu Dhabi government and last year signed a contract with British American Tobacco as an external consultant and adviser on the illegal tobacco trade.

In 2010 Flanagan took over the ACSU from Lord Condon, who set up the unit in the wake of the Hansie Cronje fixing scandal. But since then, the landscape has changed dramatically and ICC officials believe the anti-corruption unit has not evolved.

Individual national boards have also established their own anti-corruption units and improving and managing the communication between these and the ICC detectives in Dubai will be the key role of the new supremo.

ICC insiders feel that this working relationship has fractured in recent months and is partly to blame for the handling of the Chris Cairns-Lou Vincent case, which has left the board facing severe questions about its ability to lead the fight against fixing.

In the past, the ICC has been approached by Interpol to run its anti-corruption investigations but this has been turned down in favour of keeping its own in-house department of detectives, which currently costs around $5m annually.

The review of the anti-corruption unit is expected to last until October and is being led by delegates from England and Australia as well as Dave Richardson, the chief executive of the ICC, and members of the board’s legal division.

A major shake up of the ACSU is unlikely before the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in March, with the board reluctant to jeopardise the security of their premier competition by redrawing the working methods of its anti-corruption arm so soon before the tournament starts.

However, the pressure is on to deliver a new system which can improve its analysis of the hundreds of reports it receives each year and converting more of those into convictions. The Cairns and Vincent cases, which cross multiple international boundaries, have also highlighted the difficulty the ICC has with establishing which board has jurisdiction.

The ECB has taken legal advice on its position in regards to charging Cairns with an alleged corrupt approach to Vincent in 2008, when both players were appearing in county cricket. Cairns has denied any wrongdoing.