The ICC is investigating allegations that France Cricket (FC) organized fake games to show its commitment to women’s cricket in the country in a bid to secure funding from the world body.
The accusations were made in a report by France24 after a former French women’s international and board member, Tracy Rodriguez, first discovered what turned out to be ghost games. The ICC says it is taking the allegations seriously and is expected to launch an investigation into the matter. It is too early to say whether the ACU (Anti-Corruption Unit) will participate.
Rodriguez, who was elected to the board in 2021 but left earlier this year, said France24 who decided to act based on their doubts that as many women’s games were being played as the board claimed. He went to the field where the games were supposed to be played but found no activity.
“Two or three times [went] “There, people were having picnics and kids were riding bikes during the game,” he said. France 24. “The next day I saw the results of the online games.”
France24 He did the same, attending games when and where they were supposed to be played, only to discover that games weren’t taking place either. They went to a ground north of Paris to watch a women’s second division match, didn’t see it unfold, and three days later, “France Cricket stamped the match as having taken place and published the results on its website.”
The report reveals details of the funding the FC receives from the ICC and how much of it is linked to the development of women’s football and youth cricket. “According to a 2021 ICC presentation on the state of cricket in France, the ICC provides between 60% and 70% of France Cricket’s total budget, approximately $320,000 out of a total of $520,000 for the year 2022. Almost half of these ICC funds are earmarked to support women’s and youth cricket.”
The report also quotes James Worstead, coach of a fourth division men’s team, who says France Cricket requires clubs to have a women’s team in order for men’s teams to play in the top leagues. That, he said, puts pressure on the fake parties. “Most clubs cheat, they pretend to have a women’s team,” Worstead said. France24. “They pay for licenses and then falsify the results online… We have refused to falsify matches and that means that even if we qualify, we will probably never be able to get promoted.”
Clubs are fined if they cannot field a team for matches.
“In 2021, the year France Cricket began requiring clubs to have women’s and youth teams, the organization declared €20,210 in fine revenue in its annual tax bill, a tenfold increase on 2019,” the report says. . “During the 2022 season, when evidence of ghost matches began to emerge, revenue from fines fell again to 5,248 euros.”
The ICC, according to the report, has received complaints from several people involved in the game in France, including Marjorie Guillaume, former FC chief executive. Guillaume alleged that she was unable to participate in the budget and that there was “a lot of inconsistency” in the way the FC talked about its budgets. She also quotes Andrew Wright, head of development for the ICC’s European region, as saying there is “a process to ensure that the levels of cricket activity taking place within a country are tested and that checks and balances are in place.”
Boards sign legal statements confirming that the information they provide is true. It is understood that the ICC has not yet received the latest data from the FC.