Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar facing life bans after being found guilty of breaching anti-corruption rules

UAE players found guilty of two offences each, following a hearing by an independent tribunal

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 31, 2019: UAE's captain Mohammad Naveed directs his field in the the match between the UAE and Nepal in an international T20 series. Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at ICC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak/The National

Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar are facing life bans from cricket after being found guilty of corruption.

Naveed was the captain of the UAE national team, with Shaiman its leading batsman, when they were suspended in October 2019 on charges of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.

After a 13-month investigation, the two players had their case heard in November 2020.

A three-man independent tribunal, headed by Michael Beloff QC has now issued a 46-page report on the case.

The tribunal found both players guilty of two charges, including “being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly” matches at the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier.

The sanctions for the players are yet to be agreed, but the first charge carries with it a minimum ban of five years, with the maximum of being excluded from the sport for life.

Naveed was also found guilty of similar charges related to the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, which followed the Qualifier at the end of 2019.

The findings detail the players meeting with someone referred to as “Mr X” in the report, on a beach in Ajman on October 1, 2019.

During the meeting, the report says spot fixes for UAE’s matches against Oman and Ireland in the Qualifier tournament were discussed.

According to the witness statement, Naveed “said that he would give away runs in his bowling overs, and that Mr Anwar, if he was still in, would score a low amount of runs in his fourth and fifth overs.”

“As captain of the UAE team, Mr Naveed also told him that he had the team with him and therefore could ensure that whatever fix Mr X wanted, he could make sure it happened,” the report states.

According to WhatsApp messages the day after the meeting at the beach, quoted in the report, the figures proposed by Anwar and Naveed for separate fixes were: “First work 1lakh dh, [$27,000], 2nd work 5 lakh dh, [$136,000], 3rd work 1m dh [$270,000].”

The players acknowledged the meeting on October 1 had taken place – and admitted a failure to report the approach in good time to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit – but denied contriving to fix.

“It was never satisfactorily explained to the Tribunal why, if either Defendant had been the recipient of a corrupt approach on October 1 from Mr X, they continued to be in contact with him thereafter,” the report states.

“Mr Anwar provided Mr X with no less than three separate telephone numbers [including one he says belonged to his barber] which is not the act of someone who wished to distance himself from him. In addition, he met him again on October 4.

“Mr Naveed for his part asked Mr X for an account number for the nature of which he gave three separate inconsistent explanations of which, in context, only the third that it was a betting account seemed to fit the bill. It was not suggested that either was playing the role of sleuth for the benefit of the ICC.

“Their behaviour was wholly inconsistent with that of persons repelled by a corrupt approach; and wholly consistent with that of persons who either instigated such an approach or were willing recipients of one.”

The Emirates Cricket Board declined to comment on the findings against their players.

“The board won't be issuing a statement at this stage,” said an ECB spokesperson.

Three other UAE players also remain banned by the ICC, pending an anti-corruption investigation into the sport in the Emirates.

Qadeer Ahmed, a seam bowler, was also suspended at the same time as Naveed and Shaiman, on a variety of charges of breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.

In September 2020, opening batsman Ashfaq Ahmed and fast bowler Amir Hayat were charged by the ICC with five counts of breaching the anti-corruption code.

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