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Al Jazeera Sting: ICC Accuses Broadcaster of Non-cooperation; Says Taking Fixing Allegations 'Seriously'

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: May 27, 2018, 11:07 PM IST
Al Jazeera Sting: ICC Accuses Broadcaster of Non-cooperation; Says Taking Fixing Allegations 'Seriously'

Video grab of the investigative documentary released by Al Jazeera (Courtesy: Al Jazeera/Twitter)

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The International Cricket Council on Sunday issued a statement on the investigative documentary released by Qatar-based news organisation Al Jazeera, which exposed the vulnerability of international cricket to betting and fixing.

In the statement the ICC has said that despite their best efforts the news organisation has refused to 'cooperate and share information' on the sting operations. The governing body has further said that it would need the un-edited footage of the operations in order to conduct its investigations into the allegations made by the bookies.

“We have been in ongoing dialogue with the broadcaster which has refused our continual requests to cooperate and share information which has hampered our investigation to date. The content of the programme, is of course useful to the investigation, but I would now urge the production team to provide us with all un-edited and unseen evidence they are in possession of, to enable us to expedite a thorough investigation.

“Given this is a live investigation and one that is likely to be subject to the legal process, it is not possible to provide any further comment.”

“Our Anti-Corruption Unit is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket and would urge anyone with any information to contact us in strictest confidence via contactacu@icc-cricket.com,” the statement said.

The ICC though has maintained that an investigation is underway currently and it is taking the allegations made in the documentary 'extremely seriously'.

The sting has been carried out by the channel and it casts a shadow of doubt on three international matches, India vs Sri Lanka (Galle, July 26-29, 2017), India vs Australia (Ranchi, March 16-20, 2017) and India vs England (Chennai, December 16-20, 2016). The first and third Tests mentioned were won by India while the Ranchi encounter ended in a draw.

Certain footage and conversations in the sting operation point towards pitch fixing as well. The video shows conversations which suggest that the pitch could have been doctored at the behest of fixers (India vs Sri Lanka). It also hints at involvement of some Australian and England players in spot-fixing in the other two games. However, no Indian player's name has cropped up in any wrongdoing, but former Mumbai cricketer Robin Morris appears in the video as a match fixer, claiming to have several players on his rolls who were ready to fix games.

The BCCI on Sunday reacted cautiously towards the sting operation saying it would consider action against implicated former cricketer Robin Morris only if he is found guilty in the ongoing ICC probe.

"The BCCI has a zero-tolerance approach to any activity or act that brings the game of cricket to disrepute or mars the integrity of the game. The BCCI anti-corruption unit is working closely with the ICC anti-corruption on the alleged claims by a television channel," the Indian cricket board said in a statement.

Cricket Australia supremo James Sutherland also issued a statement in which he asked for co-operation from Al Jazeera.

"Together with the ICC, we are aware of the investigation by Al Jazeera into alleged corruption in cricket. Although not having been provided an opportunity to view the documentary or any raw footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims will be treated very seriously and fully investigated.

"Cricket Australia will continue to fully co-operate with the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit in its review of the matter. Neither the ICC or Cricket Australia is aware of any credible evidence linking Australian players to corruption in the game. Cricket Australia and the ICC take a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game. We urge Al Jazeera to provide all un-edited materials and any other evidence to the ICC investigation team, so, if appropriate, a full and thorough investigation can be conducted," the Cricket Australia statement read.

England captain Joe Root also strongly denied allegations about the involvement of England players in spot-fixing while speaking to the media after his team's loss to Pakistan in the first Test of the ongoing series.

"It's outrageous that England players have been accused of this," the Three Lions' Test captain said.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison, said neither his organisation nor the International Cricket Council had "any credible evidence" of corruption involving England players.

"There is nothing we have seen that would make us doubt any of our players in any way whatsoever. The limited information we have been given has been discussed with all the England players. They emphatically deny the allegations, have stated categorically that the claims are false and they have our full support," Harrison said in a board statement issued Sunday.

Former Pakistan cricketer Hasan Raza can also be seen in the video alongside Morris and can be seen agreeing to fix matches. The Pakistan Cricket Board also initiated investigations into the video in which Test player Raza is seen sitting with Robin Morris, who is discussing alleged spot-fixing deals with an undercover reporter.

The PCB said that its Anti Corruption Unit is in "process of reviewing reports regarding the alleged involvement of cricketer Raza in corrupt conduct".

"Appropriate action, if any, will be taken after collecting and reviewing all relevant evidence," read the PCB statement, stating that till such time no further comments would be made on the issue.

(With agency inputs)
First Published: May 27, 2018, 9:57 PM IST
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