Cricketers told to be on guard
Gambling syndicates on prowl in SA
SOUTH African cricketers have been alerted about possible approaches from illegal gambling syndicates to fix local matches after Cricket South Africa launched an investigation into corruption in the domestic game.
Cricket SA and the South Africa Cricketers Association (Saca) communicated with players via e-mail, SMS and phone yesterday, instructing them to be wary about any approaches to fix domestic matches.
“We have reminded players of their obligations under the anticorruption code, that they have to communicate with us or Cricket SA about any alleged or potential approaches regarding fixing,” association chief executive Tony Irish said.
Saca and Cricket SA are keeping mum about the details of the investigation other than to outline that an “international syndicate is attempting to corrupt domestic cricket in South Africa”.
In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Cricket SA said its investigation was being undertaken by its anti-corruption and security unit, with assistance from the International Cricket Council, and could involve the South African Police Service.
“This is a timely reminder that we can never drop our guard in protecting the integrity of the game at every level,” said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat. “We have an effective partnership with the South African Cricketers’ Association to ensure that all our players, support staff and administrators are well educated about the nefarious activities of corrupt people and are aware of the consequences of falling victim to any shady approaches. We will relentlessly pursue under our code and the law of the land any persons we believe to be involved in corrupting the game and, with assistance from the police, we will also seek criminal prosecution.”
The RamSlam T20 competition, which started last week, is the only South African domestic cricket tournament to be broadcast internationally. Though no one at CSA or Saca would confirm the investigation relates to that competition, matches broadcast to the Asian sub-continent, where the majority of illegal betting syndicates are based, are always an attraction for fixing.
Saca conducts annual workshops before the start of the season with local professional players to highlight the importance of reporting any approaches regarding match fixing and to be aware of attempts at syndicates drawing them into corruption.
Cricket SA announced before the tournament began the RamSlam would be broadcast on the Asian sub-continent through the Sony Six channel, in England on SkySports, and in the US on Willow TV. In addition, matches are also streamed online. Broadcasting matches internationally provides a window for local players who are not in the national team to possibly earn a big-paying contract in one of the wealthier T20 leagues, either in the Caribbean, England or in India.
The T20 format has become a big attraction for betting syndicates. The wealthiest T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League, has been mired in corruption that first surfaced over spot fixing which led to the arrest of three players in 2013.
To date, three South African cricketers have been banned by the ICC for match fixing in international cricket games.
In October 2000, former Proteas skipper Hansie Cronje was handed a lifetime ban after being found guilty of accepting bribes for fixing international cricket matches.
In the same year, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams were both handed six-month bans for match fixing.
In an interview with icccricket.com two months ago, ICC anti-corruption unit chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan admitted corruption in cricket could not be eradicated totally.
Flanagan described those involved in cricket corruption as organised criminals. “One thing I have no doubt about is that they are most evil. These are organised criminals. These are members of organised criminal gangs across the world.”
TIMELY: Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat.