‘Most cor­rup­tors in fix­ing cases linked to In­dia’

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPORT - Rasesh Man­dani sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com n

MUM­BAI: Did the wide-rang­ing fall­out of the 2013 IPL spot-fix­ing scan­dal work as a de­ter­rent against cor­rup­tion in In­dian cricket? Not so, say an­ti­cor­rup­tion (ACU) of­fi­cials in the sport.

These of­fi­cials say the cor­rup­tors now look to tar­get the state leagues as well as lesser known live com­pe­ti­tions— smaller in scale and in­volv­ing more vul­ner­a­ble play­ers.

“We have 50 in­ves­ti­ga­tions that we are un­der­tak­ing and ma­jor­ity have links to cor­rup­tors in In­dia,” Steve Richard­son, co­or­di­na­tor of in­ves­ti­ga­tions, In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil ACU said in a we­bi­nar on Sports Law and Pol­icy on Saturday.

Of late, no high-profile In­dian crick­eter may have come un­der the lens, but the player­bookie nexus goes un­abated, he said. “Play­ers are the fi­nal link in the chain. Prob­lem is with peo­ple who or­gan­ise cor­rup­tion, who pay the play­ers; who sit out­side the sport. I can de­liver eight names to In­dian gov­ern­ing agen­cies who are se­rial of­fend­ers and con­stantly ap­proach the play­ers,” Richard­son added.

But for Covid 19 ap­ply­ing the brake on all state leagues, many of them would have been on by now.

The Kar­nataka Premier League (KPL) re­mains sus­pended and police in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on af­ter some play­ers and a team owner were charged with fix­ing.

“The police has filed par­tial charge-sheets in KPL mat­ter. We are in the process of ex­am­i­na­tion of that ev­i­dence,” BCCI ACU head Ajit Singh said.

“The en­tire mal­ice em­anates from (il­le­gal) bet­ting. Just to make wind­fall gains il­le­gally through bet­ting, they ap­proach par­tic­i­pants (play­ers, sup­port staff, of­fi­cials, fran­chise own­ers) and the amount of money in­volved is unimag­in­able—an an­nual turnover of R30,000-40,000 crore; in­clud­ing sports and other ac­tiv­i­ties. In state leagues, we got bet­ting ex­am­ined on cer­tain matches and we dis­cov­ered it comes to the tune of more than 2 mil­lion pounds per match,” said Singh.

ACU of­fi­cials say noth­ing will change un­til match-fix­ing is made a crim­i­nal of­fence in In­dia.

“Sri Lanka was the first na­tion that brought a match-fix­ing law. For that rea­son, Sri Lanka cricket is bet­ter pro­tected now. In Aus­tralia’s case, we are very proac­tive. At the mo­ment, with no leg­is­la­tion in place in In­dia, they are op­er­at­ing with one hand tied up,” said Richard­son.

A ro­bust law would also help pro­tect ICC events bet­ter. “In Aus­tralia, they can stop some­one com­ing to their coun­try be­fore the tour­na­ment. In­dia too has ICC events com­ing up with the T20 World Cup (2021) and the 2023 ODI World Cup. Leg­is­la­tion would be a game changer.”

Singh said there would be a strong de­ter­rent if the pend­ing Preven­tion of Sports Fraud bill be­came law. “Fans put in a huge amount of emo­tion and this (fix­ing) hap­pens… It starts at an early stage; those who are in sports bet­ting nur­ture these play­ers and start us­ing them later for fix­ing. It needs to be curbed. For that you need a strong law. Cur­rently it is ar­chaic, and some of the con­di­tions are laugh­able.”

MASHRAFE, TWO OTH­ERS TEST POSITIVE

PTI ADDS: For­mer cap­tain Mashrafe Mor­taza and two other Bangladesh crick­eters, Naz­mul Is­lam and Nafees Iqbal have tested positive for Covid-19. The 36-year-old Mor­taza was un­well for the last cou­ple of days and tested positive on Saturday.

He is cur­rently in self-iso­la­tion. Mor­taza plays only ODIs and had stepped down from cap­taincy ear­lier this year. Last week, for­mer Pak­istan cap­tain Shahid Afridi had tested positive.

Mean­while, Cricket Associatio­n of Ben­gal sec­re­tary Sne­ha­sish Gan­guly, Sourav Gan­guly’s elder brother said he’s per­fectly healthy, rub­bish­ing re­ports that he was in­fected.

Ac­cord­ing to the West Ben­gal health de­part­ment, the fam­ily mem­bers of Sne­ha­sish -- wife, fa­ther-in-law and mother-in-law—have tested positive. Sne­ha­sish has tested neg­a­tive.

“I am per­fectly healthy and am do­ing of­fice ev­ery­day. The news do­ing the rounds about my ill­ness is base­less and is not ex­pected in these try­ing times,” Sne­ha­sish said in a CAB me­dia state­ment.

THESE OF­FI­CIALS

SAY THE COR­RUP­TORS NOW LOOK TO TAR­GET THE STATE LEAGUES AS WELL AS LESSER KNOWN LIVE COM­PE­TI­TIONS— SMALLER IN SCALE AND IN­VOLV­ING MORE VUL­NER­A­BLE PLAY­ERS

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