New spot-fixing claims made by Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera 15 international matches between 2011 and 2012 spot-fixing ICC cricket

The ICC has urged Al Jazeera to share the evidence they have to prove that 15 international matches were fixed between 2011 and 2012

Image courtesy of: The National

Al Jazeera has released its second documentary regarding corruption in cricket, in which it claims that 15 international matches between 2011 and 2012 had elements of spot-fixing.

The news organization claim to have obtained recordings of a person, supposedly Aneel Munawar, who is believed to work for the crime syndicate D Company.

In the recordings, the person thought to be Munawar is allegedly revealing details of matches that have been fixed to an Indian bookmaker.

Munawar’s name also featured heavily in Al Jazeera’s last documentary, which claimed that the fifth Test between India and England in Chennai in December 2016 had been subject to spot-fixing by players from the latter nation.

The same accusation was laid on the Australian players in regards to the third Test between India and Australia in Ranchi in March 2017.

Al Jazeera’s new documentary alleges that of the 15 international matches that were fixed between 2011 and 2012, England featured in seven of them, Australia in five and Pakistan in three.

Al Jazeera claimed that all three Tests between Pakistan and England in the United Arab Emirates in January to February 2012 were fixed.

In response to the claims made by Al Jazeera, both the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia have denied that their players have been involved in corrupt activities.

“ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously,” an ECB spokesperson said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration it has been properly assessed.

“Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.

“The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game. We are also working closely with the PCA (Professional Cricketers’ Association) and keeping them informed.”

Cricket Australia were aware of Al Jazeera’s plans to release a second documentary and in late August, then-chief executive James Sutherland said the board’s integrity unit launched an investigation into the claims that were made.

“Although not having been provided an opportunity to review any raw audio or footage, our long-standing position on these matters is that credible claims should be treated very seriously, and investigated,” Sutherland had said. “Cricket Australia’s Integrity Unit have conducted a review of the latest claims by Al Jazeera, from a known criminal source, and, from the limited information provided by Al Jazeera, our team have not identified any issues of corruption relating to current or former Australian players.

“We have handed all material over to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit to enable them to fully investigate and we will continue to cooperate with the ICC.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also responded to Al Jazeera’s allegations, and said: “The PCB is committed to its fight against corruption in cricket. It has and continues to cooperate, assist and coordinate with the ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit in respect of investigations related to international cricket.

“The recent allegations of corruption emanating from a documentary released by a broadcaster are under review jointly by ICC and PCB’s Anti Corruption Units. The broadcaster has not been forthcoming with provision of any evidence whatsoever in the absence of which their allegations remain unsubstantiated.

“PCB in the recent past has been proactive in uprooting the menace of corruption and has charged and banned numerous cricketers for failing to abide by the Anti Corruption Code. It stands by that resolve.”

One of the games mentioned by Al Jazeera featured New Zealand, and the country’s cricket board has called on the news organization to share the evidence they possess.

“New Zealand Cricket takes anti-corruption extremely seriously and has no wish to undermine its integrity by commenting on unsubstantiated allegations,” New Zealand Cricket (NZC) public affairs manager Richard Boock said. “We would, however, join the ICC and Cricket Australia in urging Al Jazeera to make all information relating to the allegations available, in the interests of natural justice and good journalism.”

In addition to the cricket boards, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has also urged Al Jazeera to share their evidence.

“The ICC is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket,” Alex Marshall, the general manager of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit, said in a statement. “As you would expect we will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully.

“However, I must refute the assertion that cricket does not take the issue of corruption seriously, we have more resources than ever before working to rid our sport of corruption.

“The investigation into these allegations has already commenced and will run alongside a number of other live unrelated investigations. When considering the claims, we will work with professional independent betting analysts.

“As with the first programme we have, and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster. We have made repeated efforts to engage with the broadcaster as it can play such a crucial part in the full and thorough investigation it has called for.

“We do welcome the commitment from the broadcaster to share the files with Interpol and, I hope, other law enforcement agencies who can act upon the information and support us in ridding the sport of these criminals.”

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