x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

ICC wants evidence handed over

Cricket's governing body launches investigation even as none of the six umpires implicated in India TV sting operation officiated at World Twenty20.

Umpire Nadeem Ghauri is reported to have denied allegations of spot-fixing, according to the Press Trust of India. Aamir Qureshi / AFP
Umpire Nadeem Ghauri is reported to have denied allegations of spot-fixing, according to the Press Trust of India. Aamir Qureshi / AFP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed it is urgently investigating allegations of corruption made by an Indian television news channel against ICC umpires.

Footage screened on the television channel India TV on Monday and seen by Reuters appeared to show umpires from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka negotiating deals with undercover reporters to spot-fix matches.

The channel showed footage of Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, part of the ICC's international panel of umpires, and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka agreeing to give favourable decisions in exchange for umpiring contracts and money.

The ICC today urged the private station to hand over any documents which could help its investigation into the allegations, while reiterating its zero-tolerance stance towards corruption and stressing none of the umpires named were involved in the recently-concluded World Twenty20.

An ICC statement read: "The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turnover any information which can assist the ICC's urgent investigations into this matter.

"The ICC reiterates its zero-tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials. The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka."

Ajith Jayasekara, the Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive, said the local anti-corruption unit will work with the ICC in the investigations.

In the sting operation, conducted in July and August, the reporters said they belonged to a sports management company and promised the umpires assignments in different events around the world, largely domestic Twenty20 leagues.

While Ghauri and Shah appeared to agree to give wrong decisions, Gallage was ready to pass on information about the toss, the pitch and weather conditions in a match before it was available to the public.

Another umpire was filmed in the sting – called "Operation World Cup" – promising to "revolt" against Sri Lankan cricket, and a fifth official was willing to ensure decisions would be given in favour of India. It is not clear what tournament or matches the two umpires were referring to.

The sixth umpire reportedly shared the pitch and toss reports as well as playing line-ups for the warm-up match between England and Australia on September 17 in exchange for 50,000 rupees (Dh3,482), according to India TV.

A seventh umpire, from Bangladesh, was approached but refused to cooperate.

Video clips of the interviews conducted by undercover reporters with umpires, mostly conducted over Skype voice and webcam calls, were still featured on India TV's website today.

In May, the same television channel's sting operation prompted the Indian cricket board to ban one uncapped cricketer for life and hand out lesser punishments to four others for involvement in corruption in domestic cricket.

The Press Trust of India reported that the umpires involved had denied the allegations, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board issued a statement saying the allegations would be part of a detailed inquiry.

The prominent cricket website ESPNCricinfo, reported that it was contacted in August by two of the umpires implicated in the sting.

Cricinfo reported the officials said they had the impression of being offered generous umpiring deals for an "upcoming" private tournament.

The umpires said they were in discussions with a sports management company, and one of them said he suspected the credentials of the company.


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