30 Aug 2010

Pakistan to investigate cricket betting scandal

A delegation from Pakistan’s highest law enforcement agency has been sent to London to investigate claims of a cricket betting scam in the fourth Test match at Lord’s. Jane Deith says reports.


The delegation representing Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency has been sent following a News of the World sting operation in which members of the Pakistani team were accused of involvement in a betting scam.

The paper claims that undercover reporters paid a middleman £150,000 in return for exact details relating to play during the final Test of the four-match series at Lord’s.

Four Pakistan players gave statements to the police on Saturday. The alleged middle man – 35-year-old agent, Mazhar Majeed – was arrested on Saturday and released on bail.

The Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani said: “The latest fixing allegations have bowed our heads in shame. I have ordered a thorough inquiry into these allegations so that action could be taken against those who are proven guilty.”

Channel 4 News’ Jane Deith has been waiting outside the hotel where the delegation is staying this morning.

She said: “Waiting with the media are five Pakistani cricket fans who have come to make sure the team hear their anger at the alleged corruption in the Pakistani game.”

Temperatures are running high, with rumours that some fans had eggs confiscated by police outside the hotel.

Deith said: “When they spotted one of the players putting his kit bag on the bus they abused him in the most personal language – which I couldn’t possibly repeat. The fans said that was nothing compared to the negative reception the team will get when they get back to Pakistan.”

There are rumours circulating that the Pakistani cricket board has been holding a crisis meeting – hence the delay leaving the hotel. The team left the hotel at about 1pm.

Recent allegations to rock the Pakistani cricket team
Ball tampering

Four years ago, the Pakistani team were accused of ball tampering during a tour to England. Australian umpire Darrell Hair ruled they had forfeited the test by refusing to take the field in a protest over his ball-tampering ruling.

Australia thrashing

In May this year, the ICC's anti-corruption unit looked at the Pakistani team's poor performance after it was heavily beaten in Australia.

Champion's Trophy

Last year, Pakistan's parliament quizzed senior figures from the team to discuss allegations they deliberately lost a Champions Trophy match to prevent India from reaching the semi-finals.

Yesterday a top bookmaker told Channel 4 News that the allegations could raise questions over the integrity of the sport. This isn’t the first time the Pakistani team have faced allegations of match fixing.

Graham Sharpe, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill, told Channel 4 News: “You could not bet on things like this in the UK, so this particular issue will not affect us.

“But in common with the people who run cricket, there is a concern for the integrity of the sport. That is what encourages people to bet on sport – knowing it is not premeditated.”