International Cricket Council launches "urgent" investigation into match fixing claims
Indian TV channel claims six umpires willing to fix matches ahead of the T20 World Cup
ICC says none of the officials accused were involved in any of the tournament's matches
India TV asked to hand over any material they have that is relevant to investigation
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an “urgent” investigation after an Indian TV station claimed six umpires were willing to fix matches ahead of the recent 20-over World Cup in Sri Lanka.
In a program broadcast on Monday night, India TV alleged half a dozen first-class officials had offered to award favorable decisions to certain players and countries for a fee.
They include two officials from Pakistan, one of whom is the only individual of the six on the ICC’s top-ranked elite panel. His last international match came in November 2010.
There are two umpires from Bangladesh accused of offering to help fix international matches. One, a 48-year-old, has umpired in 40 one-day international matches and three T20 matches. The final two umpires are from Pakistan.
Cricket’s governing body has called on the TV channel to provide any information relevant to their inquiry, and pointed out none of the umpires were involved in officiating any of the T20 World Cup matches.
“The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turnover any information which can assist the ICC’s urgent investigations into this matter.
“The ICC re-iterates its zero-tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials. The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.”
According to Andrew Miller, editor of The Cricketer magazine, the latest match-fixing allegations are not as serious as those in August 2010 that led to the jailing of three Pakistan players.
The News of the World newspaper revealed then captain Salman Butt, and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, accepted money to bowl deliberate no balls in a Test match against England at Lord’s.
All three served a prison sentence and were banned from international cricket for five years by the ICC.
Despite none of the umpires being involved in any T20 World Cup matches, Miller says it shows cricket is still vulnerable to betting scams.
“What we do know (about the umpires) is they are not the big fish … but it does show yet another example that cricket is susceptible,” he told CNN.
“Let’s be straight, this isn’t like the sting at Lord’s when it presented hard evidence of wrongdoing, this is boasting, people talking on camera in abstract terms about ‘Could you fix a match?’ ‘Oh, sure I could fix a match.’
“It’s not quite as credible as the News of the World expose back in the day but it doesn’t matter sometimes in cricket because anything that reinforces that belief that there’s something not quite right is bad for the sport.
“It is a worry for the ICC but ironically it is kind of good for cricket because the ICC doesn’t really have the teeth to do this, or the willpower. It’s got its anti-corruption unit but what can it do other than report on incidents that have already been exposed?
“It actually does rely on the media in certain instances to hit upon these things so it’s an embarrassment for the sport, yes, but at the same time if this does remind people there are people watching and you are going to get caught out if you are doing wrong it is actually a good thing for the sport.”