Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batter who received 11 life bans for match-fixing, has seen his punishment partially relaxed after an appeal that included words of support from England’s Test head coach, Brendon McCullum.
Vincent’s global ban was issued by the Cricket Discipline Commission in the UK in 2014 after admitting to 18 breaches of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s anti-corruption code while playing in three county matches: for Lancashire against Durham in 2008, and for Sussex against both Lancashire and Kent in 2011.
But the CDC announced on Friday that while the international ban remains, the 45-year-old can now participate – ie attend or possibly coach – at professional domestic level or below. It comes after an appeal by Vincent and the New Zealand players’ union that highlighted his cooperation with authorities and work in anti-corruption education programmes.
The Guardian understands the appeal, which was heard by Gerard Elias KC on behalf of the CDC and featur submissions from NZC, the ECB and the ICC, included a transcript of McCullum’s 2016 MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture. The former New Zealand captain and current England coach had argued for clemency, given Vincent’s admission of guilt and his role as a fellow witness in the 2015 trial that saw Chris Cairns acquitted of perjury.
Speaking at the time, McCullum said: “While loathing the fixing activities Lou took part in, I have nothing but admiration for him for the way in which he accepted responsibility for his actions and acknowledged guilt. I also think he demonstrated remarkable courage in giving evidence against Cairns.
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“The insight that Lou was able to provide into the dark and sinister world of match-fixing was, I think, invaluable. It would have been very easy for Lou to say nothing – to refuse to cooperate – but instead he laid his soul bare at considerable personal cost.
“Perhaps the worst part is that Lou is unable to go to a cricket ground anywhere in the world. He can never watch his children play at any level. I struggle with the severity of this when a player has cooperated fully and accepted responsibility.”
Reacting to the news of his revised punishment on Friday, Vincent said in a statement: “I made a terrible mistake many years ago which I’ll deeply regret for the rest of my life, and I remain very sorry for the harm I caused.
“Being able to return to the cricket environment means the world to me and I feel very fortunate to again have that opportunity.”
New Zealand Cricket has publicly welcomed the outcome and has said that Vincent was looking forward to “supporting and helping the game at a community level […] and attending cricket matches with his family.”