ICC bans use of twitter by players during World Cup matches

Melbourne, Feb 15 (PTI) In a bid to ensure acorruption-free World Cup following the spot-fixing scandal,the International Cricket Council has banned players and teamofficials from tweeting during matches.

The decision, an initiative of ICC''s Anti-Corruption andSecurity Unit, was intended to restrain the players andofficials from any possible approach by people with links toillegal betting during World Cup matches.

The move from the ICC came in response to Australian teammanager Steve Bernard''s tweets which attracted more than 1,100followers to his @stevebernard37 account in the past sixmonths, including during Ashes and the subsequent ODI series,according to a report in ''Sydney Morning Herald''.

The long-time manager was told soon after arriving inBangalore with the team last week that he, as well as anyother player or team official at the World Cup, had beenbanned from tweeting during matches.

"When it comes to issues of corruption we prefer to erron the side of caution. We don''t want to spoil anyone''s funbut there is a chance that sensitive information could bepassed on during matches in this way, even inadvertently, andwe just feel that team managers'' phones should be kept foroperational purposes only.

"This recommendation is not confined to the Australiateam manager but all teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011and is certainly not a reaction to anything the Australia teammanager has said or done in the past. It''s merely a precautionand is not something we are overly worried about at thisstage," ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald was quoted as sayingby the newspaper.

Players and officials will still, however, be permittedto tweet when matches are not occurring.

Cricket Australia chief spokesman Peter Young believedthat the in-game ban had been imposed by the ICC due to theheightened sensitivity about corruption in cricket.

"(Bernard) is very judicious about what he does anddoesn''t say but while he''s getting it right there needs to beone rule for all," Young said.

"It is, as I understand, a perception issue. They don''twant players or team management able to be communicating tothe outside world because of the concern the information mightbe misused by the illegal betting industry."

Bernard and Australia coach Tim Nielsen began tweetinglast August based on a request from CA, which wanted fans toget a better insight into the team.

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