Sri Lanka Cricket mum on SLPL match-fixing investigation
By Saroj Pathirana | August 22, 2012
It is the responsibility of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to carry out investigations into the corruption cloud hanging over the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) tournament, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has said.
The ICC refused to comment on if a probe had been launched by its own Anti Corruption and Security Unit, to investigate the recently leaked audio recording of an alleged attempt to fix SLPL matches, but cricket’s global governing body insisted that it was up to SLC to investigate the matter.
"Whilst the ICC is providing anti-corruption services to SLC for the duration of the SLPL, the ultimate responsibility under the SLC anti-corruption code for investigating and taking any action where applicable remains a responsibility upon SLC and its relevant officials," the ICC’s head of media and communications Colin Gibson said, speaking to BBC Sinhala who are in possession of the audio recording said to contain evidence of corruption.
The somewhat inaudible tape, which was originally leaked to the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka, contains a conversation taking place in Hindi and English. According to the Mirror, the discussion revolves around the throwing of SLPL matches for money.
After being postponed last year due to India’s refusal to allow its players to participate in the SLPL, the inaugural edition of the T20 tournament got underway this year despite yet another Indian boycott.
In spite of these issues, the organisers of the tournament – Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV) – remain optimistic about the future of the SLPL.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm amongst the players. People in Sri Lanka are now talking more and more about the provinces. This is a historic tournament and occasion for Sri Lanka; and the tournament has a great future,” the chairman of SEV Sandeep Bhammer said.
Franchise owners have forked out an average price of US$ 4.3 million for teams representing the seven provinces, but they stand to lose money initially. However, Bhammer says, they are likely to see a return on their investment later in their seven-year deal.
With stakeholders faced with financial losses, there are serious concerns over allegations of match-fixing for large sums of money.
Although the Mirror reported that a representative of SEV, along with SLC officials, had visited the publication’s premises and confirmed that the tape contained a conversation related to match-fixing – Bhammer denied this.
The Mirror further claimed that an SEV representative was able to identify a voice in the recording.
“No one has confirmed anything. Any paper can make claims, but we have not confirmed anything,” Bhammer stressed.
“I do not like to comment on gossip and rumours.”
When contacted by BBC Tamil, the secretary of the SLC executive committee Nishantha Ranatunga said that a copy of the audio recording had been handed to the ICC. He however refused to comment until an inquiry was completed, but insisted that SLC was committed to preventing corruption.
"When these allegations are brought to us, we must first look into if the allegations are true and if the recording is genuine," Ranatunga said.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board is yet to confirm that it is indeed carrying out an investigation into the allegations.
This article first appeared on BBC Sinhala. It has been translated to English and republished here with permission from the author.
© BBC Sinhala/Saroj Pathirana