8th June 2018

ICC investigators to meet with documentary makers

Investigators from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) are to meet with the makers of a documentary which alleged that Sri Lankan cricket test match pitches were manipulated for betting purposes, reports The Cricket Paper. In a documentary (video below), a former cricketer told Al Jazeera investigators that he had bribed the groundsman at Galle International Stadium in Sri Lanka to prepare the pitch in order to ensure certain outcomes, on which bets would be placed.

The groundsman told reporters that he could manipulate the pitch in order to favour either bowlers or batsmen. It was alleged that a July 2017 Sri Lanka vs. India match was manipulated to favour batsmen, in order to ensure a higher score in the first innings than bookmakers predicted. India scored 600 runs in the first innings, which the documentary makers allege allowed criminals placing bets to generate large profits.

It is also alleged that the pitch for the August 2016 Sri Lanka vs. Australia match was prepared to favour bowlers, by preparing the wicket poorly without using rollers. It is alleged that criminals then placed bets that the game would not last for the full five test match days, and would therefore not end in a draw. Sri Lanka won the test in two and a half days. The former cricketer and the Galle groundsman told the documentary makers that they were planning to put a similar plan into action for Sri Lanka’s test against England in November this year.

David Richardson, CEO of the ICC, met with a Sri Lankan Cricket and government delegation at the ICC head office in Dubai earlier this month. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also confirmed that it will cooperate with investigators.

“I ask Al Jazeera to release to us all the material they have relating to corruption in cricket”, said Richardson in a statement. “We will conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation and will ensure no stone is left unturned as we examine all allegations of corruption made in the programme. To do so, we need to see all the evidence they state they possess.

“I am encouraged by their public commitment to cooperate and now ask that they do so, in releasing all relevant material. We understand and fully respect the need to protect journalistic sources and our ACU team have worked with other media companies on that basis. However, to prove or disprove these allegations, we need to see the evidence referred to in the programme.”

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