New Zealand match-fixing bill passes first reading

    Lawmakers in New Zealand have backed a bill that would make match-fixing a crime of “deception” under the Crimes Act. Offenders would be punished by a jail term of up to seven years in prison. The bill has passed its first reading in parliament and could become law by the end of the year. Sports Minister Murray McCully described match-fixing as “the number one threat to the integrity, value and growth of sport”. The news comes as New Zealand prepares to host the Cricket World Cup which starts in February 2015 and also the under-20 FIFA World Cup. New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent was recently banned for life from playing cricket professionally anywhere in the world after admitting match-fixing. Another former New Zealand cricket player and coach, Warren Lees, said that the fallout and negative publicity from high-profile match-fixing cases was likely to be a bigger deterrent to cheating than the threat of jail time.