Bodi banned, but questions remain

Times Media


TELFORD VICE, Centurion

THE match-fixing scandal took a great leap sideways on Tuesday when Cricket SA (CSA) banned Gulam Bodi for 20 years but failed to take the opportunity to cast further light on the biggest threat to confront the game since Hansie Cronje crossed over to its dark side 16 years ago.

How many other players were or are involved, how, when and how many fixes or attempted fixes were arranged, how deeply the fixing cancer has spread into SA cricket, or even how long the investigation will last was not among the information CSA decided to share with their most important stakeholders – the public – at a press conference at Centurion.

“I fully accept that there are certain members of the media that would have liked to have had information sooner, but this is a very complex matter,” Louis von Zeuner, an independent member of CSA’s board, said.

“Despite the wrong being done we are dealing with human beings. We also need to act in a responsible way and it just was not possible to share any information earlier than today.”

CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat didn’t take kindly to media coverage of the story, which is set to balloon as a result of Tuesday’s conference sparking more questions than it answered.

“You’ll respect our position that we don’t make any comment on an investigation that is ongoing,” Lorgat said. “Importantly, we won’t confirm or deny any name that is speculated in the media.

“In fact, I think the media at times do not exercise the best responsibility, from my point of view. In fact, they make the investigation more difficult. They complicate what is already a complicated matter.”

Former SA player Bodi earned his ban, five years of which has been suspended, by contriving to fix domestic matches in SA last year. He was suspended in December and, CSA say, confessed to the charges last week.

Bodi, 37, didn’t sound like a man who had been barred from earning money the only way he knows how when Times Media called him on Tuesday.

“Hey! How you, man,” he boomed into the phone. Was he as relieved as he seemed?

“They’ve warned me not to comment at this stage. I’m still busy sorting things out with my lawyer.”

Among the few facts that were confirmed on Tuesday was that CSA understood they were bound by law to co-operate with the police.

“We abide by the law and the jurisdiction of this country,” Von Zeuner said. “Whatever action needs to be taken in terms of anti-corruption legislation will be adhered to and followed.”

Less certain is whether Bodi was able to make any of his offers to players stick.

“The evidence we’ve got from Mr Bodi suggests that we got him in a planning phase and that no fixes had been active,” Lorgat said.

“We won’t stop short until we’ve concluded every last shred of evidence. That could take us weeks, months, if not years. I expect Mr Bodi to co-operate with us, but that’s a condition of his suspended sentence as well.”

Former SA captain Cronje was banned from cricket for life in 2000 after admitting to taking money from figures in the gambling underworld.

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