TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
ALVIRO Petersen’s name became the biggest yet blackened in Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) ongoing match-fixing investigation on Wednesday.
Opening batsman Petersen, who played 36 tests for South Africa between February 2010 and January 2015, accepted a two-year ban, according to a CSA release.
Petersen is the only one among the six tainted in the scandal so far who contested the charges before admitting his guilt.
His sentence is also the lightest. Gulam Bodi was banned for 20 years while Thami Tsolekile, Jean Symes, Pumi Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati were barred from the game for between seven and 12 years.
All of the charges arose from attempts to fix matches in the 2015 franchise T20 competition.
According to the release, “Petersen has admitted four charges of failing to disclose details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct under the code; four charges of failing to disclose full details of matters evidencing a breach of the Code by another participant; four charges of failing to co-operate with the investigators by failing to provide accurate and complete information to them; and one charge of concealing and destroying information that was relevant to the investigation.”
But it would seem that CSA declined to throw the book at Petersen quite as hard as the charge sheet suggested.
“After considering representations made by Petersen, CSA has withdrawn certain charges against him, including those relating to fixing or contriving to fix any match and seeking, accepting or offering to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or influence any match.”
Petersen, who has steadfastly maintained that his role in the saga was nothing more sinister than that of a whistleblower who was looking to expose the racket, was nonetheless contrite.
“I would like to apologise to my family, friends, the public who are fans of the game of cricket, my team mates, Gauteng cricket, Lions cricket and especially to CSA for my actions,” the release quoted him as saying.
“At the time that the meetings with Bodi and the fixers happened I never had any intention of fixing matches or taking money.
“I now deeply regret having participated in these meetings and not to have immediately reported them to the authorities as I am obliged to do.
“I understand that I need to take personal responsibility for my actions and I accept the punishment that CSA has imposed on me.
“I hope that other players will learn from my experience and be better prepared if they find themselves in the situation that I was in, and that my punishment will serve as a deterrent.”
The investigation started in November last year and seems set to be part of South African cricket for a while yet.
The Independent Chairperson of CSA’s Anti-Corruption Unit and former Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts, Bernard Ngoepe, said: “We are still finalising certain aspects of the investigation and we will not stop until we are fully satisfied that we have exhausted every lead and scrutinised every aspect relating to this matter,” the release quoted retired judge Bernard Ngoepe, the independent chairperson of CSA’s anti-corruption unit, as saying.
The ban means Petersen, 36, cannot play – he turned out for Lancashire this year – or commentate on cricket for the SABC as he has done in recent seasons.