TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
BEING banned for two years for his role in the match-fixing scandal has not dissuaded Alviro Petersen from proclaiming his innocence of corruption.
On Wednesday Cricket South Africa (CSA) said Petersen had admitted his guilt on 13 breaches of their code of conduct related to efforts to fix matches in the 2015 franchise T20 competition.
But a release on Thursday issued on the former test player’s behalf by his lawyer, Robin Twaddle, claimed Petersen had come clean “under pressured and unusual circumstances”, that he appointed a bodyguard to protect him from match-fixing’s criminal underworld, that he never took dirty money, and that he plans to resume playing once his sentence was served.
“The fact that several charges against Alviro, particularly the charges 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any match and seeking, accepting or offering to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or influence any match, were withdrawn, vindicates Alviro’s stance and his insistence that he is not corrupt,” the release said.
“The events that gave rise to the charges that Alviro has pleaded guilty to took place under pressured and unusual circumstances.
“Whilst he took part in discussions that were initiated by Gulam Bodi and certain fixers, these discussions took place at a time when Alviro knew that the fixing scandal was under investigation and he (Alviro) was convinced that the fixing operation would be shut down imminently.
“Knowing that match-fixing is controlled by criminal gangs, Alviro feared for his and his family’s safety at the time, to the point where he engaged a bodyguard while playing for the Lions last season.”
Petersen’s punishment is the lightest among the six players punished so far. Bodi leads the way with a ban of 20 years while Thami Tsolekile, Jean Symes, Pumi Matshikwe and Ethy Mbhalati will be out of the game for between seven and 12 years.
“With the benefit of hindsight Alviro has realised that he should have reported these meetings and discussions, and that he should have been more candid and made a fuller disclosure to CSA’s anti-corruption officer immediately,” the release said.
“Alviro wants to state that he reported his knowledge of the corruption before the events that led to the charges against him took place and that he assisted the anti-corruption officer during the investigation, to the point that he gave him information and details of a possible fix that was going to happen hours before a game.
“Alviro also, under instructions of CSA’s anti-corruption officer, approached a player who had received money from the fixers to try and convince him to report his involvement.
“Alviro has never received money from fixers or their agents and has never participated or agreed to participate in any form of match-fixing.
“Alviro is determined to stay fit and will work hard to return to playing professional cricket when his ban ends in 2018.”
Petersen, who retired from test cricket last January but played for Lancashire this winter, will be 38 when his sanction is lifted.