‘Sorry’ Tsot­sobe cops eight-year ban for spot-fix­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZAAHIER ADAMS

FOR­MER Proteas and Highveld Lions bowler Lon­wabo Tsot­sobe has apol­o­gised “to cricket lovers all over the world” af­ter Cricket South Africa banned him for eight years for sev­eral breaches of its Anti-Cor­rup­tion Code for Per­son­nel.

Tsot­sobe, 33, has ad­mit­ted to con­tra­ven­tions of the code.

It fol­lows a de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Cricket SA, which in Jan­uary 2016 banned for­mer Proteas, Lions and Ti­tans bats­man Gu­lam Bodi for 20 years af­ter he ad­mit­ted to charges of at­tempt­ing to fix matches in the T20 Chal­lenge se­ries in 2015.

Tsot­sobe played five Tests, 61 ODIs and 23 T20Is for South Africa since Jan­uary 2009. His last ap­pear­ance for the Proteas was in 2014.

He played 61 first-class matches, 144 List A games and 77 T20s, and topped the ICC (In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil) bowl­ing rankings in 2012.

“I wish to apol­o­gise to cricket lovers all over the world. I was, at the time, in a very vul­ner­a­ble fi­nan­cial state and this dilemma too eas­ily per­suaded me to par­tic­i­pate in spot-fix­ing,” Tsot­sobe said yes­ter­day.

“There are no words to de­scribe the re­gret I have in re­la­tion to my ac­tions, and I hope that the cricket world could con­sider my apol­ogy and un­der­stand my deep­est feel­ing of re­morse.”

He ad­mit­ted to one charge of con­triv­ing to fix a match, two charges of fail­ing to dis­close to the Cricket SA anti-cor­rup­tion of­fi­cer the de­tails of an ap­proach to en­gage in cor­rupt con­duct, two charges of fail­ing to dis­close full de­tails of mat­ters ev­i­denc­ing a breach of the code by an­other par­tic­i­pant, three charges of fail­ing or re­fus­ing to co-op­er­ate with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion (in­clud­ing fail­ing to pro­vide ac­cu­rate and com­plete in­for­ma­tion), and two charges of ob­struct­ing or de­lay­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by de­stroy­ing ev­i­dence and con­ceal­ing in­for­ma­tion.

“Mr Tsot­sobe has ul­ti­mately ad­mit­ted his mis­takes in con­tra­ven­ing the CSA anti-cor­rup­tion code and, while no fix ac­tu­ally took place, it is clear that he was ac­tive in plans to par­tic­i­pate in spot-fix­ing and hence the sanc­tion im­posed on him,” Cricket SA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ha­roon Lor­gat said.

Jean Symes, Ethy Mb­ha­lati, Pumelela Mat­shikwe, Thami Tsolek­ile and Alviro Petersen have pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted to con­tra­ven­tions of the code and been banned for pe­ri­ods be­tween two to 12 years.

“The in­ves­tiga­tive team have com­pleted a thor­ough and far-reach­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. I am sat­is­fied that all the cul­prits have been duly pros­e­cuted un­der the code and, un­less we re­ceive or un­cover any new or pre­vi­ously undis­closed in­for­ma­tion, we be­lieve we can now bring this mat­ter to a close,” said Bernard Ngoepe, the in­de­pen­dent chair­per­son of Cricket SA’s anti-cor­rup­tion unit and for­mer judge pres­i­dent of the North and South Gaut­eng High Courts.

“We were for­tu­nate that in this case the re­port­ing struc­tures that CSA and Saca (South African Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion) have put in place worked.

“How­ever, we must re­main vig­i­lant to the con­tin­u­ing threat of cor­rupt ac­tiv­ity in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional cricket,” he said.

There are no words to de­scribe the re­gret I have

APOL­O­GISES: Lon­wabo Tsot­sobe

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