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Anorak | Pakistan Cricket’s Match-Fixing Scandal Is A Good Story With Few Facts

Pakistan Cricket’s Match-Fixing Scandal Is A Good Story With Few Facts

by | 29th, August 2010

MAZHAR Majeed is accused off offering cricketers playing with the Pakistan national money to alter the course of their match against England at Lord’s.

Mr Majeed has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers, says Sky News.

Mr Majeed is said to be the owner of non-league Croydon Athletic FC and allegedly uses the club to “launder his illicit gains”. Readers are presented with no evidence of this.

THE News of the World, which breaks this news, says Majeed and his associates “RIGGED the current Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan”.

That match is not over. Pakistan were skittled out for 74 in the first innings. England are on course for victory. Reading on we learn:

The NoTW bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif delivered THREE blatant no-balls to order.

They rigged the entire match with three no-balls? This seems unlikely. It’s a good story, but undone by reporters’ Mazher Mahmood & Amanda Evans’ hype, as they then call the allegation “the most sensational sporting scandal ever”.

It is not “the most sensational sporting scandal ever”. For starters, it is unproven. We are offered no word from the cricketers. And Mr Majeed has yet to respond.

It’s not even the most sensational sporting scandal in cricket. There was Basil D Oliveira, the South African-born England “Cape Coloured” who emigrated to play for England and, while enjoying a rich vein of form, was left out of his adopted nation’s 1968 tour of his homeland. And then there was Hansie Cronje, the South African captain who resigned his post for helping bookmakers “forecast” results.

The BBC’s Andy Swiss says these new allegations are “very minor, very small details within the match that might seem ridiculously trivial to a lot of people. There is no suggestion that the result of the match has been in any way fixed”.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) issue a statement:

“No players nor team officials have been arrested in relation to this incident and the fourth npower Test match will continue as scheduled on Sunday. As this is now subject to a police investigation neither ICC, ECB, PCB nor the ground authority, the MCC, will make any further comment.”

Back to the NoTW, which quotes Mr Majeed as saying

“I manage ten of the players. I do all their affairs like contracts, sponsorship, marketing, everything. I work very closely with the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board).”

He sounds like a big cheese. Says the paper:

We can sensationally reveal Majeed identified young Pakistan captain Salman Butt as the ringleader of the band of cheats.

Mr Butt has not been afforded a chance to respond. But Mr Majeed, it seems, has more to say. He is billed as “Mr Big”, who…

“…boasted about the players he claimed were working for him in the betting scam – claiming to have seven on his books, including Butt, Asif, Amir and Kamran Akmal, the wicket-keeper already accused of match-fixing by the coach of the Pakistan team, Intikhab Alam…

“I’ve opened them all Swiss bank accounts as well, all numbered accounts,” he said. “I’ve got them even English bank accounts too.”

To prove it he showed off bank details stored on his BlackBerry including a Clydesdale Bank account number he claimed was Butt’s.

Having heard “Mr Big” speak, we read this alleged exchange:

REPORTER: “If there’s two or three that are on for the other side, the betting side, then good luck – they’ll be really happy.”

MAJEED: “There’s more than two or three. Believe me. It’s already set up. That’s already there. I’m very wary speaking about this simply because I don’t know you guys.”

He doesn’t know the undercover reporters but he is happy to talk up his alleged role and connections as £150,000 is passed his way?

So. Do the reporters with the cash want an in to his lucrative scam? Says Majeed:

“I’ve been doing it with them, the Pakistani team, for about 2½ years. And we’ve made masses and masses of money.”

As the story becomes more sensational, the details become murkier. Mr Majeed is alleged to be part of cheating gang that deals with the top tier of Pakistani cricket. But the proof is not there. It is just chat. And the accused have been given no right to reply.

As for the “rigged” England match, well that does not appear to have been fixed, unless England can be bribed to play well? If they can, we suggest they are paid backhanders as a matter of course…

The  story is engaging and the video ‘evidence’ more than interesting:



Posted: 29th, August 2010 | In: Sports Comments (5) | TrackBack | Permalink