ACT News

Man thrown out of Afghanistan and Bangladesh Cricket World Cup match for courtsiding

A man was caught courtsiding at the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh at Manuka Oval on Wednesday night, police said.

Courtsiding, or pitchsiding, is when spectators take advantage of sometimes just seconds-long broadcasting time delays to manipulate betting, feeding match information abroad.

On Wednesday, the man - understood to be an Australian national - was thrown out of Manuka Oval after he was caught and issued with a ban notice by the ICC, since he breached the terms and conditions of entry.

"In the match the person was using his communication device to transmit match information which is clearly a breach of ICC policy. He was asked to leave," an ICC spokesman said.

The incident is the third case of courtsiding so far in the cup.


Three men were evicted from the Sri Lanka and New Zealand match at Christchurch's Hagley Oval on February 14 and one man evicted from the Ireland and the West Indies match at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Monday.

While the three men in Christchurch were caught shortly before the end of the first innings, it remains unknown at what point of the match the man was caught on Wednesday night.

ACT Policing said that the practise is not an offence in the ACT.

A spokesman for ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said, however, that a number of offences could be used to prosecute the man involved in the courtsiding incident.

He said the new major events laws did not cover courtsiding, due to existing laws already in place.

In August 2013 a number of provisions were enacted as part of the territory Criminal Code "with the aim of preventing and prosecuting cheating at gambling," the spokesman said. 

"Under those provisions it is an offence to corrupt a betting outcome, or to bet with information about a corrupt betting outcome. Both offences carry a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment."

It is also illegal to bet with inside information, which can include someone making a bet or a person being encouraged to bet, or communicating inside information to another person.

"The maximum penalty for that offence is imprisonment for up to two years," the spokesman said. 

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission chief executive officer Greg Jones said while he was not aware of the details of the case, it could be difficult to prosecute someone for the practise.

He said while the ACT has "strong legislation" covering gambling, "the integrity of the sport is controlled by the relevant sporting body".

The ICC's ticketing policy forbid the use of communication devices to provide running commentary or match information for the advantage of broadcast delays.

At Manuka, the man was caught by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Security Unit who attend matches and scan the crowd to find punters constantly on their phones or laptops.

The ICC said the man's discovery is a credit to the unit's success.

"This reflects how the ACSU is working closely with local authorities and anyone who is breaking terms and conditions and taking advantage of broadcast delays will not be allowed to carry on. 

"We are aware of this threat and we are happy that these systems are working and we continue to be vigilant," the ICC spokesman said.

The man has now been been banned from all matches at all venues during the cup.

Five other men were also ejected from the Manuka match which attracted a crowd of more than 10,900.

Two men were involved in an "altercation with security" and three other people were marched out by security for throwing things into the crowd.

Police said they were otherwise pleased with crowd behaviour.