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Umpire bribe claims no surprise to Hair
Darrell Hair

Retired Australian cricket umpire Darrell Hair says he's not surprised at some current umpires allegedly being caught taking bribes.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an "urgent investigation" into claims by an Indian television station that several umpires were willing to fix matches for money.

India TV broadcast footage of a sting operation by reporters in August and September that allegedly exposes six ICC umpires from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"I was wondering how long it would take before some umpire did some stupid things," Hair told AAP on Tuesday.

"There have been rumours going around for ages, since the IPL started, that umpires were involved.

"It all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed.

"If you're the type of person and you're given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say 'yeah, I'm in'."

India TV identified the umpires in the sting and said three of them agreed to give favourable decisions, including in warm-up matches for the Twenty20 World Cup which ended on Sunday.

One of the named umpires was a reserve umpire for Australia's warm-up game against England on September 17, alleged to have shared information on the pitch and playing line ups.

The ICC said none of the six umpires - three from Sri Lanka, two from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh - officiated in the T20 World Cup.

Hair, an international umpire for 16 years until he resigned in 2008, wasn't shocked by the allegations.

"In my whole career, there had always been word that certain umpires were on the take here or there," he said.

"But to be fair, all the guys I umpired with at international level I think were pretty much above board.

"But I don't doubt that there have been others around, probably in a lesser environment, trying to make a quick buck.

"People like that have just got no bloody morals or values about the game."

After retiring, Hair was executive officer at the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association until last year.

"When I was working back at Cricket NSW, some of the Australian guys had been over there (the subcontinent) coaching and they just expressed surprise at things that were going on in that IPL," he said.

"They couldn't nail anything - it's a bit difficult when they are talking in a different language.

"Some games were going along perfectly well and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, there is a flurry of wickets and all of a sudden you have lost a game that you were comfortably winning."

Hair held little faith in the ICC defeating corruption.

"The ICC are completely reactive in their way of doing things," he said.

"They say they don't have the legal powers that police have got for phone taps and that sort of thing, but I don't buy that.

"If you're an international organisation - they employ retired coppers and detectives in their anti-corruption unit, so what's the difference?.

"I reckon the ICC should be above any law if they want to tap phones to ensure that the game is clean.

"If I was in charge ... I'd be putting bloody phone taps on virtually everyone involved - if they knew that, nothing could go wrong."

The West Australian

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