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is sport finally starting to win the fight against corruption?

Could sport be fighting back against the corrupt individuals who wish to poison their respective games to line their own pockets? Encouraging signs this week with cricket and rugby league both acting to stem the tide.

In cricket, first the British Crown Prosecution Service announced it was charging the three Pakistan cricketers with obtaining and accepting corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat. Bear in mind that the CPS was the authority who were laughed out of court when trying to convict leading jockey Kieran Fallon of pulling horses a few years ago. Let's hope they've got their act together since then. Long drawn out cases which ultimately fail ruin reputations and make lawyers rich.

A day later, the ICC have come down hard on the three players, with minimum suspensions of five years. Expect appeals from each player pleading their innocence first, and then for leniency. There's legs in this case yet, but it's encouraging to see the ICC impose serious penalties.

In rugby league this week, charges have finally been laid in the NRL betting scandal from last season. Ironically, the player charged, Canterbury front-rower Ryan Tandy, hasn't been charged with conspiracy or sporting fraud, but giving false evidence police which is a much more serious charge in NSW. Tandy's agent and people connected to him are alleged to have bet heavily on North Queensland (the opposing team) scoring the first points of the match with a penalty goal. Tandy gave away a penalty directly in front of the posts after just two minutes, but the other team, unaware of the planned sting, chose to take a quick tap instead and go for the try.

Let's hope football, racing and tennis can get their acts together and follow suit where applicable. Tennis prides itself on using a sledgehammer to crack nuts - suspending guys for a year for placing €5 worth of bets, yet does sweet FA when blatant match-fixing occurs. UK football authorities have handed out some pathetically lame penalties for players found betting against their own team (the infamous Bury v Accrington Stanley game from a few years ago). Horse racing in the UK has recently been beating their own chest about the Casela Park case. It's all well and good to suspend guilty parties, but when the perception is one rule for the minnows of the sport and another for those with a higher profile, it defeats the purpose....

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Flemington 1500 local, 0400 GMT
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Jockey - William Buick
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