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Tainted Cricketer Gulam Bodi Pleads Guilty in Match-fixing, Awaits Decision on Clemency Plea

Cricketnext Staff |November 4, 2018, 7:09 PM IST
Tainted Cricketer Gulam Bodi Pleads Guilty in Match-fixing, Awaits Decision on Clemency Plea

Gulam Bodi has the unenviable distinction of being the first South African sportsperson to be criminally convicted for match-fixing after he plead guilty at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court. A report on Cricinfo states that the former South Africa batsman is guilty on eight charges of corruption and has begged for clemency.

Bodi has been charged under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004, which came into effect only after Hansie Cronje match-fixing saga in 2000.

A couple of years ago, the batsman was banned from any cricket related activity for 20 years by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for being part of a conspiracy that influenced various aspects of the 2015 Ram Slam T20 tournament. Six players — Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Jean Symes, Pumi Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati were also implicated in the matter that was later handed over for investigation to the police services by CSA.

"It has been a very tough few years," Bodi told reporters outside the courtroom. "I've been banned for 20 years. That's already a long sentence. So for me not to be able to do something I loved my entire life has been terribly hard. I haven't really settled in the last three years. It's been a constant battle.

"Just recently I managed to get a job, and after three years of running around and struggling, things started slowly looking a bit better, and now this comes up. It's completely shattered me.

"They pulled me out of school when I was just 16 and put me in a cricket academy. I don't even have an education background to fall back on, so it's been a real battle. This is going to greatly affect my job and my family, because nobody wants to be associated with a criminal."

Bodi, who pleaded for mercy, will have to wait till January 28th which is when he will get to know his fate.

The court agreed to allow more time for prepare for sentencing as Magistrate Nicola Setshogoe acknowledged that the cricketer is a first-time offender and has been co-operative since his arrest in July.

"Before this whole thing transpired, my client was offered a job at a cricket academy and had also been commenting with SuperSport," Mnguni told The Saturday Star. "The fact that the ban he received meant he couldn't be involved with cricket took away any form of income he would be able to earn because in essence this man only knows cricket. He doesn't have an academic background.

"I'm hoping that when we bring forward all these issues to the court, in addition to the fact that he's got three very young children and he's got an elderly unemployed mother, whom he financially supports.

"I feel for my client because I know he's been through a lot. He's made a mistake and I won't say he's been punished enough, but he has been punished and he suffered a lot going through this process, and he obviously feels very sorry for what he's done and the harm he has caused to CSA and the damage that they suffered in the public for what he's done."

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