Sport

South African cricket braced for fresh match-fixing scandal

South African cricket is bracing itself for its biggest match-fixing scandal since the Hansie Cronje affair as the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit closes in on a former South Africa Test player thought to be the ringleader of attempts to corrupt the recent Ram Slam Twenty20 competition.

Investigators from the ACU have been working for weeks on a complex case that is expected to become public once the Test series against England is completed.

The case will be a huge test for Cricket South Africa and the ICC, which is helping the local authorities with their investigation.

CSA has declined to comment apart from releasing one statement on December 16 announcing that it had suspended an "intermediary" with "contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects" of the Ram Slam, South Africa's domestic Twenty20 competition.

Reports in South Africa state that one former Test cricketer has been charged and a franchise team investigated, with other players facing disciplinary action for failing to report corrupt approaches.

The former Test player could face jail under South African law. The ACU is in the process of agreeing memorandums of understanding with police in England and South Africa that will allow them to share intelligence. A formal link would also enable the ACU to benefit from the extra investigatory powers the police have at their disposal.

Advertisement

In December Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chairman of the ICC's ACU, told The London Telegraph that his unit was engaged in a "series of ongoing" investigations with one, believed to be this South Africa probe, at an advanced stage.

The Ram Slam was shown live in India, from where almost all cricket corruption emanates. A recent report into fixing in the Indian Premier League recommended legalising gambling in India to help combat the problem of fixing but this would need political support the idea has not previously had.

The Ram Slam struggled to attract crowds and does not have the financial muscle to attract high-profile overseas players, with Kevin Pietersen its only real star.

The last thing the South Africa authorities need is for the tournament to be tainted by scandal but there is a strong desire at the ICC to prove it can root out corruption and punish the guilty.

The Telegraph, London

Advertisement

8 comments