MATCH-FIXING PROBE DEEPENS
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.