London: English cricket chiefs have offered an amnesty to players to report past match-fixing approaches after former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield pleaded guilty to spot-fixing at the Old Bailey.

Westfield, 23, entered a guilty plea to charges of accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs.

He received 6,000 ($9,199) to bowl so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of a match against Durham in September 2009, although in fact only 10 were scored.

It is already an offence under England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regulations for players to fail to report approaches related to corrupt activities.

But the governing body, at a meeting yesterday, established a "window" until April 30 whereby players can report previous approaches without the threat of ECB punishment.

Chris Watts, information manager to the ECB`s Anti-Corruption Commission for Education, Standards and Security (ACCESS), said: "Information is critical in addressing the threat posed by corruption in sport.”

"The decision of the board to provide a window for retrospective reporting of alleged approaches will greatly assist the ACCESS unit in compiling a more complete picture of the source and focus of approaches which may have taken place in the past.”

"Individuals may not have thought these approaches were worthy of reporting at the time and, prior to the decision of the board, may have been concerned that the fact that they did not report such activity may have put them at risk of disciplinary action.”

"I am working closely with the PCA (Professional Cricketers Association) to provide players and officials with this opportunity to work with our ACCESS unit to ensure that we work together to address the threat created by corruption in sport."

(Agencies)