ICC finds insufficient evidence after 'comprehensive investigation' into 2018 match-fixing documentary

Programme called 'Cricket’s Match Fixers' alleged corruption in international cricket, including in the UAE

 The ICC has found no credible evidence of corruption after concluding its investigation into the 2018 documentary by Al Jazeera. Satish Kumar / The National
 The ICC has found no credible evidence of corruption after concluding its investigation into the 2018 documentary by Al Jazeera. Satish Kumar / The National

The ICC say no charges will be brought after concluding their investigation into a documentary that purportedly exposed widespread corruption in international cricket, including in the UAE.

A programme called 'Cricket’s Match Fixers', which was aired on Al Jazeera in May 2018, showed a number of people involved in cricket allegedly partaking in corrupt practices.

However, no action will be taken due to “insufficient credible and reliable evidence,” according to a statement by the ICC.

“The comprehensive investigation focused on three main areas: the claims made by the programme, the suspects who were part of it and how the programme gathered evidence,” the statement read.

“The programme alleged that two matches were fixed: India v England in Chennai in 2016 and India v Australia in Ranchi in 2017.

“To assess whether the passages of play highlighted in the programme were unusual in any way, the ICC engaged four independent betting and cricketing specialists to analyse the claims.

“All four concluded that the passages of play identified in the programme as being allegedly fixed were entirely predictable, and therefore implausible as a fix.”

Alex Marshall, the general manager of the ICC’s integrity unit, said the claims lacked “credibility”.

“We welcome the reporting of alleged corrupt activity within cricket as there is no place for such conduct in our sport, but we also need to be satisfied there is sufficient evidence to sustain charges against participants,” Marshall said.

“In the case of the claims aired in this programme, there are fundamental weaknesses in each of the areas we have investigated that make the claims unlikely and lacking in credibility, a viewpoint that has been corroborated by four independent experts.

“On the basis of the programme, the participants to the code who were filmed appear to have behaved in a questionable manner. However, we have been unable to assess the full context of the conversations that took place beyond what was seen on screen versus what the participants claim actually happened.

“This combined with the absence of any other credible evidence means there are insufficient grounds to bring charges under the ICC anti-corruption code

“Should any new substantial evidence come to light I will re-examine the case. But at present I am comfortable with the conclusion of the investigation and the thoroughness with which it was undertaken.”

Although no UAE players were mentioned by name, an alleged fixer did claim in the documentary that a number of national team players were involved in corruption. No charges emanated from those claims.

However, five UAE players have subsequently been banned from the sport in separate cases of breaching the sport’s anti-corruption rules.

Earlier this year, Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar were banned for eight years each for planning to fix aspects of matches at the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Qadeer Ahmed was banned for five years for a variety of offences, while Ashfaq Ahmed and Amir Hayat are awaiting the verdict on their case.

Updated: May 17, 2021 03:52 PM

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