Mystery matchfixer unlikely to have tainted T20 semi

Times Media


TELFORD VICE and LIAM DEL CARME

THE identity of the “intermediary” at the centre of cricket’s latest matchfixing saga remains a mystery beyond their gender, but doubts about the integrity of the semi-final of the franchise T20 competition last week appear to be unfounded.

A Cricket SA (CSA) official said the person could not yet be named as the investigation was ongoing. “We cannot assume he is guilty but what is clear is that he has to explain himself,” the official said.

On Tuesday, CSA said they had “charged a perpetrator, operating as an intermediary, under its anti-corruption code” with “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects of the (franchise T20 competition) and with failing or refusing, without compelling justification, to co-operate with an investigation carried out by CSA’s designated anti-corruption official.

The person had been “provisionally suspended”. That meant they “may not be involved in any capacity in any match or any other kind of function, event or activity … that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way” by official cricket organisations.

As CSA are not a law-enforcement body, they do not have the authority to charge anyone with any crime. But they do have the power and the responsibility to police the behaviour of their employees and agents.

That suggests the “intermediary” either works for CSA or their franchises or affiliated provinces or clubs, or is connected to a company or organisation that has been contracted by CSA, or anyone who has agreed to abide by the organisation’s terms and conditions.

That is a wide field including administrators, coaches, umpires, scorers, groundstaff, contract workers like stadium cleaners, caterers and marketing executives, dressingroom attendants and members of the media.

The use of the world “intermediary” would seem to remove players from the equation. But the concerned person’s role would presumably be to carry information between players and figures in cricket’s gambling underworld.

Although the investigation was launched as a result of events earlier in the franchise T20 tournament some have speculated whether the probe was related to the manner in which the Cobras lost the plot in their semi-final against the Dolphins at Kingsmead last Wednesday.

Having whittled their required runrate down to a run-a-ball off the last 30 deliveries of the match, which they reached with seven wickets standing, the Cobras scored 24 runs and lost five wickets.

But the CSA official said the probe had nothing to do with the bizarre events in Durban: “Nothing new has come to light over the last week or so. The decision to charge this individual is based on what happened earlier.”

Times Media established on Wednesday that none of the Cobras’ players or staff had been suspended.

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