Can’t share match fixing expose videos with ICC, says Al Jazeera

Saying that “in certain respects the broadcast puts the ICC itself under the spotlight”, <i>Al Jazeera</i> refuses to share videos with International Cricket Council or meet them

PTI photo
PTI photo

Vikrant Jha

After airing a 55-minute long ‘expose’ on alleged corruption and match-fixing in cricket on Sunday (May 27), Doha based media house Al-Jazeera has refused to either meet International Cricket Council or provide them with the raw footages of the 18-month-long investigation.

An Al Jazeera spokesperson, reported Al Jazeera, said, “It should also be borne in mind that in certain respects the broadcast puts the ICC itself under the spotlight." Saying that it remains “ fully committed to exposing betting corruption in the sport”, the Doha based broadcaster said that they have to “take into account ongoing legal considerations, including potential criminal investigations into the match-fixing allegations in Sri Lanks and India” before sharing any details with the cricket’s governing body.

“That being the case, a meeting with the ICC would be premature at this stage,” an unnamed Al Jazeera spokesperson was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

The Al Jazeera expose:

Al Jazeera in its broadcast of expose on May 27 revealed sensational details of alleged match-fixing and corruption in cricket. The expose alleged that most of the cricket matches, more than 70% of them, are fixed, including T-20 leagues, International limited overs matches as well as Test cricket, the most revered and respected form of cricket.

Al Jazeera’s investigative unit, headed by Journalist David Harrison, claimed to have infiltrated a gang that fixes cricket who told them not only cricketers are their partners in crime, but also they can get the pitch doctored by paying the groundsman a handsome amount.

The ‘gang’ included a Mumbai based former professional cricketer Robin Morris, Tharindu Mendis (former professional player from Colombo), Tharanga Indika (‘main’ curator of Galle Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka) and a D-Company (Dawood Ibrahim’s company) Aneel Munawar representative among others.

The expose claimed:

  • D-Company fixes 70% of International matches. D-Company use their ‘connections’ in the cricket establishments, including the International Cricket Council (ICC), to manipulate the results of matches
  • While some players are directly in touch with the bookies, others are contacted through middle-men
  • Pitches are doctored by paying groundsmen a hefty sum of ₹25,00,000 to get the pitch made to favour either batsmen or bowlers
  • Robin Morris, a former professional cricketer from Mumbai claims in the expose, “can get a match fixed 200%” by getting the pitch doctored
  • Sri Lanka versus Australia match in August 2016 at Galle was fixed by getting the pitch doctored to assist the bolwers
  • Sri Lanka versus India match in July 2017 at Galle was fixed by getting the pitch doctored to assist the batsmen
  • India versus England match in Chennai in December 2016 & India versus Australia match in Ranchi in March 2017 were fixed
  • At least two Australian cricketers in the Ranchi Test in 2017 had roles to play and three Englishmen fixed sessions in Chennai. Citing legal reasons and an ongoing probe by the ICC, Al Jazeera refused to name the players
  • It’s unbelievably easy for the alleged match-fixers to get access to places (hotels) where they know they will find international players

Sick & tired of match-fixing news: Kirti Azad

Although he is not aware of the expose by Al Jazeera, Kirti Azad told NH that even if the matches are not fixed, there is nothing concrete that the ICC or the BCCI is doing to get rid of the allegations of corruption in cricket. After the confession by former South Africa Captain Hansie Cronje in 1999 (he had accepted that he had fixed matches and had promised to reveal “big names” before he died in a plane-crash), says Kirti Azad, “I had raised the issue in the parliament but nothing was done.”

“I don’t know about the credibility of the sting by Al Jazeera,” he added, “but these allegation are severe and investigation must be carried out. Talking about India, I would say we really lack stern law against match fixing in cricket. There is no law and even when people are caught red-handed, they get away in two-three months with some suspension.”

“I’m sick and tired of these allegations and news of match-fixing,” Azad concluded.

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