Suits fiddle while cricket’s integrity burns

Times Media

TELFORD VICE, Johannesburg

SA cricket’s integrity is burning while the suits fiddle with words they hope will douse the flames of another match-fixing crisis.

But administrators have not shown that effective action is being taken against the scourge that first raised its head in the country in 2000 when former SA captain Hansie Cronje confessed to his involvement with cricket’s gambling underworld in exchange for illicit payments.

On Thursday, media reports forced Cricket SA (CSA) to name Gulam Bodi as the vaguely described “intermediary” in a release in December in which the organisation said they were investigating allegations of corruption in the 2015 franchise T20 competition.

Now, instead of intensifying their efforts to discover the names of any co-conspirators, CSA say they are waiting for Bodi to identify them.

Or perhaps not: a senior official has admitted he is not fully aware of the way forward.

The SA Cricketers’ Association, meanwhile, say it would be “inappropriate” to comment.

Contacted by telephone by Times Media on Tuesday, Bodi issued a one-word answer when asked if he was a focus of the probe – “No” – and said he was in a meeting and would call back.

He has not returned the call and subsequent attempts to talk to him have failed.

But Bodi is, allegedly, just one piece in a puzzle that cannot be completed without the others.

“We don’t know who the other guys are,” Altaaf Kazi, CSA’s head of media and communications, said on Thursday. “This is an ongoing process and we will know only as the investigation continues.

“We released Bodi’s identity because his name was already out in the media. We will now wait for him (Bodi) to name all the others who are implicated.”

What happens next?

 “We are now waiting for him (Bodi) to respond to see what he decides. He has been charged, so it is now a legal matter and unfortunately I do not know what the entire process that will follow is.

“I will imagine he will speak to his lawyers. We are simply waiting for him now.”

Tony Irish, the executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations as well as the chief executive of the SA Cricketers’ Association, said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any aspect of the investigation.”

CSA say they have charged Bodi – internally, not criminally – with “contriving to fix, or otherwise improperly influence aspects” of the 2015 franchise T20 competition.

“Mr Bodi is presently co-operating with … anti-corruption officials,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat was quoted as saying in a release. “We now await his response to the charges and the matter will take its course in accordance with the process outlined in the code.”

That marks a departure from what CSA said in December – that they had also charged the intermediary with   “failing or refusing, without compelling justification, to co-operate” with their investigation.

If Bodi did make offers and if he was successful in getting other players to bite, one of his former teammates would be surprised.

“Anyone who has played cricket with Gulam knows that he is an absolute clown, so I’m not sure which players could possibly have taken an offer from him seriously,” he said.

Bodi, a veteran of two one-day internationals, a T20 international, and 340 matches across all three formats at provincial and franchise level, played his last representative match, a one-day game, for the Lions against the Cobras at the Wanderers on January 24 last year.

Whether match-fixers, spot-fixers and their intermediaries are on the scene is unimportant. They only need to be in contact with other figures who are in on the fix to be able to ply their trade.

Both making and failing to report offers to fix matches contravene the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 and could earn the perpetrators as much as a life sentence in prison.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s