Dubai, Feb 4: International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, David Richardson feels organising a safe and corruption-free World Cup will be their greatest challenge during the two-month long mega-event.
The ICC World Cup will kick start with hosts Australia and co-hosts New Zealand taking on England and Sri Lanka respectively on February 14 in Melbourne and Richardson said security has been the biggest expense for the ICC this time.
"Security, I suppose it is reflective of the global situation we are in. That has been a big challenge for us. The spend on security in this World Cup is more than ever before," he said yesterday.
"Previously, the cost of travel and accommodation would exceed the security projects, but now it is the other way round. It is the biggest expense for the World Cup, apart from the prize money.
"It has been a challenge, but I think we are very well placed so there is not necessarily a threat to the tournament itself, but obviously we have to be aware of the global situation," Richardson said.
"The other factor of course is match-fixing and spot-fixing. Any incident along those lines will be a disaster for the event. However, I think the level of preparedness for this event is again the best we have ever been," he added.
The former South African wicketkeeper exuded confidence that the World Cup will be corruption free considering the level of effort that the Anti Corruption and Unit (ACU) and local police authorities have put in.
"The ACU have been working for the last two-three years on putting in place memorandums of understandings with the New Zealand police and with the Australian police to make sure they make it very, very difficult for any of these fellows travelling around the world who are trying to influence matches," Richardson said.
'We had no real idea who those fixers were'
"Our intelligence has improved tremendously. Going back to the last World Cup, we had no real idea of who those fixers were and how they operated. Now, the data base of these guys is much more detailed," Richardson said.
"When we go Down Under, that information of more than a hundred names will be given to the department of immigration and police and any attempt by these guys to get close to the tournaments will be hopefully prevented.
"There are two ACU officials on duty at each venue and they not only watch the ground, but they will also watch the hotels and all that, but as I said, the pre-tournament intelligence is at such a level where we can brief the players beforehand," he explained.
Highlighting the educational programme for the cricketers, Richarson said the education programme has been stepped up for the players. They get regular sessions.
Probably, it is quite boring for them, but the people who fix matches are always trying new tactics and we keep on updating the players on those kinds of things.
"The number of approaches, the number of reports that we are getting from players, shows that the players have got this very much in the forefront of their minds and they are taking the responsibility seriously," he added.