ICC’s special unit brings CBI into the picture
Chima asked to approach governing body
SAI Eastern fails to utilise funds
EB want share of prize money
Sur Kumar, Ratan in big demand
St James’ School lift crown
Tata Steel A win
Brazil’s Santos confirm entry
Sujata Kar to lead Bengal
Ootacamund Racing/ ‘Prospect’ wins

Calcutta, May 9: 
The Sir Paul Condon-headed anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been “in touch” with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over the Chennai incident involving three Australians.

Yesterday, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced that coach John Buchanan, vice-captain Adam Gilchrist and the touring side’s eldest member, Colin Miller, were “approached for information” on the last day of the Test series, March 22.

That stunning day saw Sourav Ganguly’s team pull off a two-wicket series-pocketing victory.

According to the ACB, the “approach” was made by a male caller before the team left the Taj Coromandal for the Chepauk. The ACB insists no inducement was offered and that the trio immediately reported the calls to manager Steve Bernard.

Indeed, it was Bernard who informed his employers — the ACB — who “promptly” reported the happenings to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

Clearly, the ACB appears to have learnt from the sorry episode of the Shane Warne-Mark Waugh dealings with bookies, in the mid-Nineties.

Well-placed sources of The Telegraph in London and New Delhi have confirmed that the ICC unit, which has in the past interacted with the CBI, has kept it “informed” of this latest incident.

No matter how tenuous, the CBI has now got another (match-fixing related) lead to work on. In any case, the CBI’s match-fixing inquiry isn’t over — last November, it only submitted an interim report.

Intriguingly enough, the Australians didn’t inform the Chennai police about the triple “approach,” though ACB chairman Dennis Rogers faxed a letter to Board president A.C. Muthiah within 24 hours, on March 23.

[Board secretary Jaywant Lele last evening claimed he personally knew “nothing,” but the ACB followed protocol by informing Muthiah. It’s significant that Rogers, and not chief executive Malcolm Speed, reported the incident.]

Contacted in Melbourne, ACB spokesman Brian Murgatroyd declared: “Procedure requires that the ICC’s anti-corruption unit be intimated about any approach. This was strictly followed by the ACB.”

Apparently, even the ICC’s man on the spot, Match Referee Cammie Smith, wasn’t informed. That certainly is odd, even more so that most of the Australians (including Gilchrist, Miller and Buchanan) did not request the hotel to screen calls.

Today, that is standard practice just about everywhere and is simple: Calls are put through only after the player in question is informed of the caller’s identity and, more importantly, he wishes to take the call.

In fact the Indian manager during the series, Chetan Chauhan, personally made sure this was followed (with regard to his team) in all eight cities which hosted India-Australia matches.

Looking back, a pretty sensible move. It’s not that Chauhan had any misgivings but, as he explained, he didn’t wish to give dubious characters even the semblance of a chance to try and interact with his players.

Meanwhile, speaking exclusively (after scanning the hotel records), a very senior Taj Coromandal manager revealed: “Where Buchanan, Gilchrist and Miller are concerned, only on one evening (March 16) did Gilchrist request that no calls be put through till 8.30 the next morning.

“Neither did Gilchrist make any other request — not even for a phone-Do Not Disturb (DND) — nor did the other two, going by our records, ever ask that calls be screened. We can’t ourselves not put calls through.”

The Australians pride themselves on being pros on and off the field, but this has to be labelled a ‘lapse’. They took the rare step of bringing along a security coordinator (Reg Dickason), yet didn’t make the small move of getting calls screened.

According to Muthiah (who acknowledged receiving “a note” from Rogers), however, this was done after Chennai.

From Chennai, the Australians (and Indians) moved to Bangalore, Pune, Indore, Vizag and Goa for the five ODIs.

Reached for a comment in Chennai, Muthiah said: “Though Rogers’ note didn’t talk of any inducement, as a precaution I asked Lele to get in touch with the hotels where both teams would be staying, after Chennai, and ensure calls were only put through after being screened...”

Of course, the screening-business was already on the Indian manager’s agenda and, so, the Muthiah-directive effectively was for the Australians’ benefit.

Incidentally while on screening calls, there was a phase last year when the then Pakistan manager, Brig. Nasir, would get all calls diverted to his room for his own special screening...


Calcutta, May 9: 
The governing body of the Indian Football Association (IFA) today decided to give Chima Okerie a chance to appeal against the ban imposed on him in 1999.

The Nigerian was suspended for two years on September 14, 1999, after failing to pay a fine of Rs 3 lakh for misbehaving with the referee in a Mohun Bagan versus East Bengal Calcutta League match. Chima submitted a letter to the IFA on April 28, saying he was keen to make most of the “few years of football left in him” and share it with others.

According to a senior IFA official, he also pleaded that he was the sole earning member of his family and the ban should be lifted on humanitarian grounds. The official further stated the prolific striker was prepared to apologise to all who were displeased with what he had done.

The governing body felt Chima should be personally present before its members and apologise. They said they would also like to seek his version of a recent incident when the player allegedly manhandeld a press photographer.

The date of the next governing body meeting will be announced later.

Tolly keep options open

Meanwhile, Tollyugunge Agragami have not ruled out recruiting Chima, though coach Amal Dutta is not exactly enthusiastic about the idea. Club officials were to hold discussions with the Nigerian last week, but the meeting fell through following his reported brawl with the photographer. They have not met since.

A senior club official today said they were still willing to talk with Chima.


Calcutta, May 9: 
In a recessionary market that has seen all-round reduction of allocation funds, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Eastern Centre in Salt Lake failed to utilise Rs 41 lakh of its fund in the last financial. That money, a rather large chunk of the usual Rs 5-6 crore annual allocation, had to be returned to the Centre.

The SAI itself is a top-heavy white elephant of the Union government, with assymetrical yield levels. And when money is returned from one of its regional centres, it can only reflect on the poor management structure of the entire system.

With the existing regional director in-charge, Soumen Chowdhury, out of commission at the moment because of a cataract operation, his stand-in, S. Harmilapi (sent down from Delhi on April 30), is trying to make ends meet.

Arms have been bent double in that effort, but Harmilapi, a badminton coach with the SAI, says perhaps a system can be evolved by which most of the allocated funds can be actually utilised. That could ease much of the financial stress from the Eastern Centre.

How is the money spent? Forget the details. The fact that nearly Rs 40 lakh is spent each month on salaries alone (that is Rs 4.8 crore a year) is shocking. And when it is clear that this amount of money is needed to keep just 438 employees (218 coaches and the rest administrative staff), one can surely understand why this concept has been such a huge waste of time, money and effort.

It has been despite all these weird anomalies that the powers that be in the Eastern Region (as in other parts of the country) have been crying hoarse for more funds. The justification has been a circular from the Centre which had asked the regional centres to quickly attain self-sufficiency.

“I am eager to bring to order my priority areas,” Harmilapi told The Telegraph here today. “They are the Centre of Excellence, the Sports Training Centre, the National Sports Talent Contest, and the several national camps. At this moment two camps are going on here: senior archery and junior boxing (as well as a bit in swimming).” The four schemes eat up around Rs 35 lakh.

The Centre of Excellence is probably a showpiece scheme of the SAI. And who does Harmilapi boast of in that scheme today? “Soma Biswas (of the Railways) and Sanjai Rai, I must tell you, are sure medal prospects in the international arena.” Those are the outstanding of the 33 in store. Actually, they have been, for quite some time now.

As have the table tennis inmates (the big TTFI-BTTA fiasco — in which many were thrown out — included), not really the product of the SAI.

That has been the big achievement of this centre. Sports is probably a zero sum game, or the very existence of this centre cannot be justified.

And what is the centre doing to raise its own funds? “There are these many huge hoardings that line the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, based in the SAI campus,” explains Harmilapi, “those bring in about Rs 36 lakh.” That should take care of the four shemes. “We also let out our playfields, gym and halls for sports purposes.”

When the East Zone Cricket Academy asked for space, the SAI was only too eager to comply. “Rs 50,000 has been paid in advance for that,” he said. “They only use our gym facilities in the morning now. We offered their trainees airconditioned rooms in our youth hostel at a subsidised Rs 80 per day only. They did not accept.” Being the upmarket sport that cricket is, the trainees have been rehoused in posh quarters.

With much of the Central funds now being diverted for the Delhi Afro-Asian Games in November, allocation for the East could be less. It is time for tightening of belts and using the new broom for the accumulated rubbish.


Calcutta, May 9: 
Following their maiden National League triumph, East Bengal have asked for a share of the prize money from sponsors UB Group.

Club president Pranab Dasgupta today said a fax has already been sent to this effect, requesting 25 per cent of the total prize money as “incentive”.

According to unofficial sources, it was learnt that UB has agreed to grant just 15 per cent of the 40-lakh champion’s purse. Following a contract, the common sponsor gets whatever East Bengal and Mohun Bagan earn as prize money.

Of the Big Two, Mohun Bagan have been assured of a raise in the football budget and their arch rivals said they will demand the same after they come to know about it “officially”. A Mohun Bagan official confirmed afterwards that the UB Group has agreed to give them a raise of Rs 25 lakh.

Club officials said they have also asked for a hike — apart from the “incentive” — in their last year’s football budget of Rs 1.6 crore but they are yet to hear anything in the affirmative.

East Bengal officials said they were struggling to negotiate with players as they are yet to receive this year’s funds. Club secretary Dipak Chakraborty said an UB official had told him the budget will not be increased.

Getting players from other states, he said, will be difficult as inter-state transfers end on May 31 and lack of funds have so far kept them from initiating any deal. Mohun Bagan officials cited the same problem.

NFL felicitation

For the felicitation of the National League winning squad on May 19, East Bengal have decided to invite all former players. Officials informed they are planning to present some kind of a memento with the club logo embossed to all members of the champions squad.

They have decided to invite Syed Nayeemuddin, who was discarded as coach after the first two matches in the National League.


New Delhi, May 9: 
A reshuffle of star players and coaches is on the cards during the inter-state football transfers scheduled to commence Tuesday.

Air India’s Khalid Jamil, Churchill duo Mahesh Gawli, Noel Wilson, East Bengal’s Sur Kumar Singh and Ratan Singh are the key international players in demand. Relegated Air India may also lose impressive midfielders Bungo Singh and Tomba Singh.

National League champions East Bengal, runners-up Mohun Bagan and big-money spenders Mahindra United are in the fray for securing the top players.

Sur Kumar and Ratan have received good offers from both Churchill and Mahindra United. With East Bengal keen to retain most of their winning squad, it remains to be seen what the star defenders do.

ITI, who just survived relegation by finishing 10th, have also increased their budget. They have retained the services of coach Mohammed Habib who has made an emotional appeal to his former TFA wards to join ITI from wherever they are playing currently.

East Bengal striker Trijit Das, midfielders Zaheer Abbas, Ragui Singh and left-back Amandeep Singh are set to join ITI. Tollygunge’s former TFA striker Mohammed Qaiser and midfielder Naresh Mann are also Bangalore-bound. Habib is also keen to rope in former international S. Venkatesh.

Tollygunge stopper Satish Bharti, another ex-TFA boy, will however stay in Calcutta.

Meanwhile, former national coach Syed Nayeemuddin is set to leave Calcutta. He has two options — Mahindra or Salgaocar. Mahindra have revamped their management. Henry Menzes and Arshad Ahmed have replaced Harish Rao, their manager for the last three years. Both Menzes and Arshad are keen to have Nayeem.

Shabbir Ali, sacked by Mahindra last month has joined newly-promoted Super Division side Bhratri Sangha.


Calcutta, May 9: 
St James’ beat Julien Day (Ganganagar) 5-3 via tie-breaker in the Anglo Indian Association-organised inter-school hockey final at their home ground today. The teams were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation time. Ariful Koyal (2) and Mohammed Hasinur scored for Julien Day. Jaipreet Singh Bindra (2) and Ramneet Singh Sethi struck for the eventual champions.

Lagden Shield

Behala SA beat Students AC 4-0 to reach the Lagden Shield quarter finals. Khalsa Model School also made the last eight, as Vivid gave a walkover.    

Calcutta, May 9: 
On a day of big scores, Tata Steel A beat Tata NYK 5-0 in their The Telegraph Merchants’ Cup five-a-side soccer meet at the CC&FC today. Selvel drubbed Bates India 12-0 while Indian Iron & Steel Co. beat Sony India 4-0.

OTHER RESULTS: Spice Cell bt Autoexide.com 3-2; HTA bt Duncans 2-0; ITC B drew HDFC Bank 1-1; Web Dev Co. Pvt. Ltd bt Hindustan Times 2-0; Seagrams Berger Paints 3-2; The Park bt Continental Shipping 1-0; J Thomas bt PricewaterhouseCoopers 3-1.


Calcutta, May 9: 
Brazil’s Santos club has confirmed their entry for the India Cup football tournament, scheduled to be held in the city from June 2 to 12.

According to IFA joint-secretary Ranjit Gupta, the players’ list sent by the Brazil club includes former Colombian international Freddy Rincon. Announcing this at the IFA governing body meeting today, the official said the AIFF has given the go-ahead and a clearance from the Asian Football Confederation is awaited.

The other foreign teams to have confirmed participation are Argentinos Juniors, AEK Athens and Iran’s Sapia FC.

The IFA wants to invite East Bengal and Mohun Bagan but the city giants are unlikely to prepare their teams fully by then. The official said there will be a series of matches involving fewer teams in case such a situation arises.

Telecom in group B

The governing body agreed to include Telecom Football Club in group B of the first division league. But it was decided that the club must ensure that all players are on the payroll of the telecommunications board and are good enough to compete at this level.

Inter-state transfers

Tollygunge Agragami’s TFA recruit Samson Singh today took the inter-state certificate to play for Mumbai’s Air India in the ensuing season. The Mumbai team has been relegated to the second division of the National League this season. FCI’s Mukesh Kumar’s moved to FCI, Bihar, while Bhratri Sangha’s Sugata Sinha switched over to Father Agnel Gymkhana of Mumbai.

Book released

The second edition of RG’s book of World Cricket Records (1877-2000) has been released. Priced at Rs 495, the book has been compiled and edited by the Mumbai-based Board of Control for Cricket in India statistican, Mohandas Menon, and two Calcuttans: D.N.Mukherjee (retired director of industries) and A.K.Sarkar. Besides the synopsis of every Test and ODI till mid-November last year, the book has the career records of all Test and ODI cricketers. Good value for money, really.    

Calcutta, May 9: 
Sujata Kar will lead Bengal in the national women’s football championship, beginning in Ludhiana on May 12. Last year’s runner-up Bengal play their first match on May 18.

Bengal have been seeded to play from the quarter final league stage where they play three matches.

THE SQUAD: Goalkeepers: Namita Bag, Ranjita Khan. Defenders: Rehana Khatun, Madhabi Ghosh, Chandana Biswas, Jayanti Barua, Runu Chakraborty, Tumpa Banerjee. Midfielders: Pushpa Das, Alpana Sil, Sharmila Sapui, Sujata Nandy, Lata Ghosh. Forwards: Rinku Ghosh, Sujata Kar, Madhumita Das, Chaitali Kar, Sayanti Nandy, Enakshi Biswas. Coaches: Indrani Ghosh and Shukla Dutta.


The Robert Foley-trained five-year-old Star Prospect claimed the Gudalore Plate the main event at the Ootacamund (Udhagamandalam) races held on Wednesday. G. Ross partnered the Ilheus-Zyna’s Glory son to victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Green Fields Plate 1,300m: (1-4-12) Royal Blue (A. Imran) 1; Finishing Touch 2; Falling Shadow 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-3/4; (1-24.3). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 13; 26; 107; Quinella: 176; Tanala: 9,564. Fav: Royal Blue (1).

2. Glenmorgan Plate 1,600m: (5-4-6) Imperial Warrior (A. Imran) 1; Belezian 2; Legonnaire 3. Won by: 2; 1-1/2; (1-44.6). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 13; 13; 13; Quinella: 100; Tanala: 272. Fav: Imperial Warrior (5).

3. Gudalore Plate 1,800m: (7-2-1) Star Prospect (G. Ross) 1; Celtic Bleu 2; Fairy Prince 3. Won by: Dist; 2; (1-55.9). Tote: Win Rs 64; Place: 17; 36; 23; Quinella: 702; Tanala: 3,706. Fav: Silver Patriarch (5).

4. Podanur Plate 1,400m: (5-7-6) Cloud Forest (Mohan) 1; Head Hunter 2; Beauchamp King 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-31.3). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 15; 64; 43; Quinella: 592; Tanala: 5,113. Fav: Cloud Forest (5).

5. Kodanad Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (7-8-10) Amazing Crown (Mohan) 1; Daring Destiny 2; Splendid View 3. Won by: 5; Nk; (1-29.1). Tote: Win Rs 65; Place: 24; 17; 64; Quinella: 143; Tanala: 3,768. Fav: Amazing Crown (7).

6. Kodanad Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (9-7-6) Connexions (Hesnain) 1; River Keen 2; Prismatic 3. Won by: 2; 1/2; (1-30.8). Tote: Win Rs 292; Place: 43; 51; 30; Quinella: 1,533; Tanala: 12,048. Fav: Supreme Challanger (2).

7. Dolphine’s Nose Plate, Div-I 1,800m: (11-9-10) Apache Len (Carim) 1; Bold Enough 2; Pride Of Kings 3. Won by:2; 1/2; (2-2.4). Tote: Win Rs 53; Place: 17; 54; 43; Quinella: 507; Tanala: 12,966.Fav: Apache Len (11).

8. Dolphine’s Nose Plate, Div-II 1,800m: (6-5-7) Touchin Heights (Subbiah) 1; Bold Bidder 2; Royal Garter 3.Won by: 2-1/4; 1-1/2; (2-1.4). Tote: Win Rs 149; Place: 29; 31; 28; Quinella: 491; Tanala: 28,714. Fav: Sanctified Star (4).

Jackpot: Rs 16,580 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 2,046; (ii) Rs 8,912.

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