YOU know, there’s so much spin going on in the world, it would not be surprising to discover Mother Earth had calamitously careered off her axis and was soon to crash into the sun – like in some Hollywood disaster movie.

We’ve got English MPs of every hue – red, blue, amber and what should be the blackest of black for those UKIP under-cover racists – claiming victory for themselves and defeat for their rivals.

Then there are managements of various companies saying everything is hunky-dory, provided they can employ workers on zero hours contracts or introduce state of the art systems that are no such thing other than a conveyance to usher staff out the door.

Sports is not exempt either for malevolent manipulation of the truth.

What about Manchester City’s totemic titan Yaya Toure? He is apparently quivering with outrage that his mega-rich employers – he’s not exactly short of a few bob himself, mind - did not fully recognise his birthday.

He got a cake, but not a handshake, nor a Bugatti, nor a purple-haired pony, nor a gold-plated fountain whose jets of water are accompanied by the refrain “Yaya superstar”. All together, aarrrrr.

Yet we all know all he is after is a better deal. If not then he’ll be offski quicker than one of his trademark surges through retreating rearguards.

Then there’s cricket. You know that game of gentlemen that veers from several scores of spectators at a domestic county game to thousands of hollering throats at roustabout, knockabout Indian Premier League games.

But for all those crowd contrasts, evidence is growing that the professional game is riven across the globe by corruption. From out in the middle to those who put the sin into syndicates the cursed weeds of match-fixing are garrotting the game.

Exposure of result-rigging scams and scandals has been tigerishly exposed by the British media, in particular The Daily Telegraph. Yet for all their probity, they were attacked by Dave Richardson, the chief executive of the International Cricket Commission, whose remit surely is to stridently rid the cricket of this cancer. Instead the attack was on the messenger. No change there then.

The ICC’s outlandish spin on the truth in the wake of leaked testimony from former New Zealand test player Lou Vincent, a self-confessed serial match-fixer, has been nothing short of scandalous.

Thank mercies then for the England and Wales County Cricket Board.

In a bold and not before time move the ECB issued match-fixing charges against Vincent and his then county team-mate Naved Arif, for their part in allegedly rigging a CB40 match between their Sussex club and opponents Kent at The Hove in August 2011.

Should the duo be found guilty they would then face as much as a life-time ban from the game – either playing or coaching. If culpable, no longer would they be able to earn any living from cricket, though there might be a chance of selling their story, ironically the flip-side of media spin.

But back to the ECB. Chief executive Paul Downton, its chief executive, suggested that the evidential leaks and the dogged investigations of the ECB’s own anti-corruption officers indicated that no fewer than five matches in the last six years had been rigged or targeted for rigging.

Now that has to be of the utmost concern of certainly every professional club in this country.

If the viewing public cannot believe that what they have paid to see is a genuine unfolding of skills, talent and endeavour, but rather it is a tainted tapestry whose outcome is determined by some well-organised criminal cabal on the other side of the world, then credibility will collapse, as will trust and surely crowds.

And as cricket battles to hold on to its faithful, but dwindling core of followers - let alone manage to attract more - then unless punitive and transparent penalties are carried out then the game will be up.

The ECB is to be applauded for its decisive action, which has cut through the spin. But more is needed and quick.


• PORTUGAL’S capital of Lisbon will be awash with an invasion of Iberian neighbours today.

The city hosts the European Cup final – stuff that Champions League guff, it’s the cup with the big ears – and for the first time in its illustrious history it will be contested by teams from the same city.

So it’s Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid.

It’s a showdown worthy of the billing as Europe’s summit meeting.

Atletico have already broken the Real/Barca title monopoly by lifting last week’s La Liga crown. A double would be dreamland. But Real Madrid, reduced to third spot in the championship standings, will be seeking a fabled tenth Euro crown.

What a game, what a prospect.