UAE cricket corruption timeline: Qadeer Ahmed banned for five years

Former UAE fast bowler the third UAE cricketer to be hit with long ban by ICC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - October 10th, 2017: UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed trains with Pakistan's one-day team. Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at ICC Cricket Academy, Dubai Sports City, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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It is nearly 18 months since the UAE cricket team was first rocked by a corruption controversy.

On Wednesday, Qadeer Ahmed was suspended from cricket for five years for breaching the sport's anti-corruption rules.

It follows eight-year bans handed out to Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar last month, for conspiring to fix aspects of matches at the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Here is how the saga has unfolded.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A meeting takes place between Naveed, Shaiman and Deepak Agarwal, an Indian businessman, on a beach in Ajman in the evening. The players subsequently claim they thought this meeting was to be about playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 league later in the year.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

According to evidence at the hearing into the case, the meeting was actually to discuss potential fixes in the T20 World Cup Qualifier. The report refers to a WhatsApp conversation on this day which involved doing “work” (fixes), with sums of Dh100,000, Dh500,000 and Dh1 million mentioned.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) are contacted by Agarwal, who “alleged he had received an approach to engage in corrupt conduct in relation to the” Qualifier, according to the tribunal report. He is interviewed extensively by the ACU two days later.

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. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Officers from the ICC’s anti-corruption operation enter the players and match officials area during the UAE’s practice match against Namibia at the ICC Academy. After the game, Naveed, Shaiman, and the seam bowler Qadeer Ahmed are led away for questioning.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Emirates Cricket Board confirm Ahmed Raza has replaced Naveed as the UAE captain, and that the fast bowler has been withdrawn from the squad for the Qualifier – but no reasons are given as to why.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Naveed, Shaiman and Qadeer are charged by ICC with multiple breaches of cricket's anti-corruption code. Naveed tells The National: "It is my mistake, and I feel guilty. My family is let down, my friends are let down. Everybody is let down."

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Qadeer, whose case is separate to that of Shaiman and Naveed, admits failing to report "a wrong approach". But he adds: "Financially, after playing four years of international cricket, me and my family are still in the same position, living in a rented house. I have not been involved in any illegal activity."

Monday, October 21, 2019

UAE beat Hong Kong by eight wickets in the Qualifier in Abu Dhabi. But shortly after victory is sealed, it is announced opening batsman Ashfaq Ahmed has been provisionally suspended by the ECB, as part of the ICC investigation.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 21st, 2018: UAE's Ghulam Shabber makes 50 during the match between the UAE and Scotland. Sunday, January 21st, 2018 at ICC Academy, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Ghulam Shabber. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

UAE lose to Jersey in the Qualifier. It is then revealed wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber is absent without leave, having failed to show for a team meeting a day earlier, or board the bus to the ground. Instead, he had flown to Pakistan with no explanation.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Shabber tells The National that he is willing to comply with the ICC's corruption probe from his home in Pakistan, but that he will not play cricket again. "I have left cricket behind, and want to move on with my life with my family," he says.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The national team's hopes of making it to the T20 World Cup in Australia (which is later postponed because of the coronavirus) end, as they are beaten by Scotland in the last-chance eliminator in Dubai. An hour later, the ECB confirm Shabber has been suspended for "absconding" and is part of the corruption investigation.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Ashfaq and Amir Hayat, a fast bowler who was not part of the UAE squad for the T20 Qualifier, are formally charged by the ICC for a variety of corruption offences, and suspended from cricket indefinitely. The charges include "seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept any bribe or other reward" to "influence improperly" aspects of international matches.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Ashfaq insists he has "done nothing wrong". "I cannot imagine compromising everything I have earned to do something like this," he says. "I cannot do this to the UAE, which has given me so much, including transforming an ordinary cricketer to an international one."

Shaiman Anwar. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Shaiman Anwar. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

An independent tribunal find Naveed and Shaiman 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.

Within the 46-page report, it is said “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.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Naveed and Shaiman are banned from all cricket for eight years. "That they both chose to engage with this corrupt activity was a cynical betrayal of their positions, their teammates, and all supporters of UAE cricket," said Alex Marshall, the ICC's head of integrity.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Raza says he wants cricket to move on following the corruption controversy. "I take a lot of pride in wearing UAE on my chest, and would always want our team to be in the news for the right reasons," the captain said. "For me personally there is zero tolerance in this matter."

Qadeer Ahmed. Pawan Singh/  The National
Qadeer Ahmed. Pawan Singh/  The National

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Naveed registers an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. "Now my life is finished, and I will not accept it," Naveed says. "I will fight however I can."

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Qadeer is banned from the sport for five years, after acknowledging his guilt. “I never took a single dirham and I never bowled any illegal ball in my career,” Qadeer says. “But, I am sorry and gutted that, as per the ACU rules, I was wrong on different occasions.”