Ex-Black Cap Lou Vincent: I am a cheat
Cricketer Lou Vincent has become the first New Zealand sportsman to face a life ban for cheating, something he says he will regret for the rest of his life.
Vincent tonight issued a comprehensive statement on issues and accusations which have been surrounding around him for months and the punishment that will be handed out by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as well as the Champions League Twenty20 Governing Council. It is the first time he has spoken on the issue.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has backed the bans and its chief executive David White said it was "appalled" at the actions of Vincent.
The 35-year-old Vincent, who played 23 tests and more than 100 one-day internationals for New Zealand, said he had been handed a life ban by the ECB for being involved in the fixing of five games and faced 26 charges in total.
He was also was recently banned for three years by Bangladesh cricket for not reporting an approach while playing for the Dhaka Gladiators.
It means Vincent, who suffers from depression, will not be allowed to be involved in cricket professionally or even enter a ground while a match is being played. He had spoken before about wanting to coach, a dream that will now never be realised.
It is a harsh blow for Vincent, who now lives at a rural idyll outside of Auckland, far from the tempestuous glare of world cricket.
He said in the statement he had abused his 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."
It first emerged in December last year that Vincent was being investigated by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti Corruption and Security Unit.
News first came to light in May that Vincent had given evidence to the ICC about his involvement in match fixing. The evidence related to 12 matches in five countries between 2008 and 2012, including an Auckland Aces match at the Champions League in South Africa in 2012.
There were initial suggestions that Vincent had made a plea bargain - something he later rejected.
Vincent was charged in May by the ECB with 14 match-fixing offences relating to two matches he played for English county Sussex in August 2011 - a Twenty20 game against Lancashire and a 40-over clash with Kent.
Vincent revealed his cheating began in 2008 at the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) where he played for Chandigarh.
He used a number of signs to show fixes were on, including changing the colour of his bat handle, and said he was often instructed to score 10-15 runs from 20 deliveries and then get out.
Vincent played in the same ICL team as fellow former Black Caps Chris Cairns and Darryl Tuffey. Both have vehemently denied any involvement in match-fixing.
Cairns wouldn't comment on Vincent's situation tonight.
NZC chief executive White said he supported the ban on Vincent. He said the matter with Vincent was still under British police investigation and he could not comment further.
ICC chief executive David Richardson also welcomed the penalty, but commended Vincent for his courage.
"The ICC has a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption and these life bans, together with the life ban recently imposed by the ECB on Naveed Arif, should send out a loud and clear message to all those who indulge in corrupt practices and think they can get away with it.
"We also note the sentiments expressed in the statement of Lou Vincent and commend him for having the courage to finally tell the truth and to co-operate with the investigations.
Richardson said "no stone would be left unturned" to brings others to justice.
"These unscrupulous corruptors and small group of greedy individuals should not be permitted to destroy the game for the overwhelming majority who play the game as they should, and the fans across the world."
VINCENT STATEMENT IN FULL
My name is Lou Vincent and 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.
I could not live with my wrongdoing any longer, and after meeting my future wife Susie, after learning what unconditional love really is, I felt strong enough to tell her what I'd done, and she has helped me take the painful steps to telling my parents, my wider family and then the authorities.
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.
I apologise to and thank the ACSU for their help and support , which is out there for all players and it has helped me a great deal.
Chris Morris and his legal team, and all associations that have handled this sensitive situation with professionalism and respect.
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.
I have kept my head down for too long now. This is my time to man up to my mistakes and today I can stand with a better conscience because I know I'm doing the right thing.
It is entirely my fault that I will never be able to stand in front of a game again. It is entirely my fault that I will not be able to apply my skills in a positive way to help future cricketers.
But it is entirely possible that I can use this moment to convince others not to be tempted by wrongdoing. To do the right thing for themselves, for their families and friends, and for the sport they love.
I accept my punishment and I thank you for listening to my statement today.