England reject Al Jazeera’s cricket fixing allegations as ICC launches probe
London :Australia and England on Monday rejected fresh allegations about corruption in cricket by television news channel Al Jazeera, which claimed there had been 26 spot-fixing incidents in 15 international matches.
In a follow-up documentary to one aired earlier this year, the Qatari-based broadcaster reported on Sunday that a small group of England players allegedly cheated in seven games between 2011 and 2012.
It claimed Australian players were similarly involved in five matches over the same period, Pakistan players in three and players from other, unidentified teams in one match.
“In some cases, both teams appear to have delivered a fix,” it said, pointing to purported recordings of a match-fixer calling in the fixes to a notorious Indian bookmaker linked to organised crime.
It alleged that the suspected fixes were usually carried out by batsmen who agreed to under-perform.
Among the matches cited were England against India at Lord’s, South Africa versus Australia in Cape Town, and several games during England’s series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
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The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it had launched an investigation and would work with professional independent betting analysts.
“The ICC is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket,” said the head of the governing body’s anti-corruption unit Alex Marshall.
“As you would expect we will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully.”
The ICC also launched a probe after the original Al Jazeera documentary and in August Marshall said “we have been able to discount a number of claims made in the programme and continue to pursue other aspects”.
That documentary alleged corruption among Australia and England players in games in 2016 and 2017.
Those claims were dismissed by both countries, with the latest documentary sparking a similar response from Cricket Australia (CA) and the England Cricket Board (ECB).
“Cricket Australia takes a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game, and to suggest anything otherwise is unsubstantiated and incorrect,” CA chief executive James Sutherland said on Monday. “We have full confidence in our players in also protecting the game.”
Prior to the latest broadcast, CA’s Integrity Unit conducted a review of the claims, which it said came from a “known criminal source”.
“From the limited information provided by Al Jazeera, our team have not identified any issues of corruption by any current or former player,” said Sutherland.
The ECB was also adamant that the claims lacked credibility.
“Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration, it has been properly assessed,” it said in a statement.
“Analysis of this by the ECB integrity team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.”