MATCH-FIX­ING PROBE DEEP­ENS

CityPress - - Front Page - ED­UAN ROOS, JO­HANN DE JAGER and SUZANNE VEN­TER news@city­press.co.za

Former Protea Gu­lam Bodi al­legedly ap­proached at least four Protea cricket play­ers with prom­ises of hun­dreds of thou­sands of rands and ex­pen­sive gifts in a des­per­ate at­tempt to make “quick and easy” money, but one player ex­posed him.

Another player has “dis­ap­peared like a nee­dle in a haystack” since Bodi was re­vealed this week as the “mid­dle­man” for an in­ter­na­tional match-fix­ing syn­di­cate with roots in In­dia. He re­port­edly wanted to fix matches in the lo­cal Ram Slam T20 se­ries. The com­pe­ti­tion took place in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber last year.

Cricket SA (CSA) an­nounced on Thurs­day that Bodi (37), a for­mer Proteas open­ing bats­man, was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing its anti-cor­rup­tion pol­icy.

An in­sider close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion told City Press’ sis­ter pa­per, Rap­port, that Bodi ap­proached four for­mer Proteas and of­fered at least one of them $50 000 (more than R800 000 at the cur­rent ex­change rate) to un­der­per­form in a match broad­cast on In­dian tele­vi­sion.

Bodi al­legedly met with play­ers since Oc­to­ber last year in the park­ing lot of Joburg’s Wan­der­ers sta­dium, sev­eral restau­rants and a strip club, among other places.

The Satur­day Star re­ported yes­ter­day that, ac­cord­ing to the CSA’s pre­lim­i­nary charge sheet, Bodi of­fered one of the play­ers R800 000 for ev­ery match in which the player un­der­per­formed on pur­pose, of which the player would leave R150 000 as “com­mis­sion” for Bodi.

Rap­port learnt that al­though most of the play­ers Bodi ap­proached laughed off his propo­si­tion, some were “def­i­nitely in­ter­ested” and even “ne­go­ti­ated amounts”.

Bodi al­legedly tried to bribe play­ers with gifts of as much as $2 000 and even threat­ened the fam­i­lies of “younger play­ers” if they de­clined to get in­volved.

The threats were al­legedly among rea­sons many of the play­ers did not re­port him.

One of the play­ers, how­ever, did snitch on Bodi at the CSA’s anti-cor­rup­tion unit, led by Louis Cole.

Three of the four for­mer Protea play­ers Bodi is said to have ap­proached have de­nied the claims. The fourth, one of Bodi’s Lions team-mates, could not be reached de­spite nu­mer­ous calls. His agent, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said he had been try­ing to get hold of the player him­self for the past three weeks.

“We have no idea where he is. We want to con­front him about these al­le­ga­tions, but he has dis­ap­peared like a thief in the night,” he said.

Bodi is ex­pected to re­spond to the CSA’s com­plaint on Thurs­day. Bodi re­ferred Rap­port’s ques­tions to his lawyer, Ay­oob Kaka, say­ing: “Please leave me alone; it’s the week­end, man.”

Kaka said Bodi was yet to be crim­i­nally charged and was “fully co­op­er­at­ing” with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“It’s noth­ing more than a storm in a teacup, if you ask me,” he said.

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