x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bangladesh cricket league hit by corruption charges, says ICC

Seven are suspended in match-fixing scandal as it is unclear whether those involved are players or officials.

International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson, right, speaks as Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan looks on during a news conference on Tuesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP Photo
International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson, right, speaks as Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan looks on during a news conference on Tuesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP Photo
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed seven people have been charged with match-fixing in the Bangladesh Premier League in a scandal that has already ensnared national hero Mohammad Ashraful.
It said another two people have been charged with failing to report corruption when they were approached to take part in fixing during the 2013 season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), a Twenty20 tournament.
All have been charged under the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) anti-corruption code and face a disciplinary tribunal hearing.
"The charges relate to an alleged conspiracy within the Dhaka Gladiators franchise to engage in match-fixing and spot-fixing activity during matches in the BPL 2013, as well as failures by individuals to report approaches made to them to be involved in the conspiracy," the ICC said in a statement.
Evidence was gathered against the unidentified individuals during an investigation by ICC anti-corruption officials into the scandal involving 28-year-old Ashraful and others.
The affair has further shaken confidence in the game across South Asia.
Indian cricket is also embroiled in spot-fixing and betting scandals. Bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and 38 others were charged by Delhi police in July over alleged spot-fixing in this year's Indian Premier League.
"All those charged [in Bangladesh] now have 14 days to indicate whether they wish to plead guilty or to defend themselves against the charges," ICC chief executive David Richardson said at a press conference, flanked by Bangladesh's cricket chiefs.
He declined to name the players charged or say whether they were Bangladeshi or overseas cricketers contracted to the BPL.
It is unclear how many of the nine fingered in the ICC probe are players and how many are officials.
The seven charged over fixing have been suspended from all levels of cricket pending the outcome of the hearings.
Ashraful, who captained Bangladesh between 2007 and 2009, made a tearful confession and apology on national television in June to match-fixing after being quizzed by the ICC's officials.
Ashraful was allegedly involved in fixing a match between Dhaka Gladiators and Chittagong Kings during this year's second edition of the BPL.
Local media have reported that the batsman was paid about one million taka (Dh47,000) to lose the match on February 2.
Ashraful, who became the country's youngest Test centurion in 2001 at the age of 17, was also allegedly involved in fixing another match 10 days later against Barisal Burners, who his team lost by seven wickets to, local reports have said.
The BCB president Nazrul Hassan said the board was committed to a "zero-tolerance approach towards corruption in the sport".
The allegations of fixing are the latest to hit Bangladesh cricket, including the BPL. The former international spinner Shariful Haque was given an indefinite ban last September after an inquiry found him guilty of spot-fixing during the first edition of the BPL.
In March the BCB banned international umpire Nadir Shah for 10 years after a sting operation by an Indian television channel found him apparently willing to fix matches in exchange for cash.
sports@thenational.ae
twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE