Calcutta/New Delhi: A sting operation by an Indian television channel has claimed to have exposed several first-class umpires from three countries who were allegedly willing to fix matches for money.
The sting was broadcast on Monday evening by a news channel, the same channel who had revealed alleged corrupt practices by five Indian domestic players earlier this year.
The channel showed video clips purportedly taken by their undercover reporters in which the umpires were shown to be allegedly willing to give certain decisions for a fee.
However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that none of the alleged umpires were involved in any of the official games of the World T20.
In a statement issued on Monday, the apex body said: “The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turnover any information which can assist the ICC’s urgent investigations into this matter.
“The ICC re-iterates its zero-tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials. The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka,” the statement added.
The six umpires who were purportedly shown in the sting are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka.
In the sting, conducted in July and August, the reporters claimed to belong to a sports management company and promised the umpires officiating assignments in events of all kinds around the world, largely domestic Twenty20 leagues. The reporters, who worked undercover, carried out the ‘sting’ mainly through interviews and conversations via Skype, an internet videophone service.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board president, Mustafa Kamal, however, has said that their Board will investigate the matter after getting the details. “I came to know about it from the media… So I am not in a position to make any comment. But if the allegations are true, we will definitely investigate the matter,” Kamal said.
Ghauri, who is an ICC International Panel umpire, has rubbished the allegations and claimed he has never officiated outside Pakistan in the recent years. Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah, too, has strongly refuted the allegations against him.
“I never fixed any match… It’s absolutely rubbish. If I am going to fix match, I will be caught some day by the ICC. They had posed as sponsors and had approached me. But I did not agree to them. No umpire fixes matches,” Shah said.
According to the channel, Shah offered to give decisions like “out”, “not out” in any format of the game. He has officiated in 40-plus ODIs and has been a TV umpire in six Tests.
Ghauri, according to the channel, agreed to help Team India in all ways. As a quid pro quo, he agreed to take all amounts underhand in “black”. He has stood in 43 ODIs, 14 Test matches and four T20 Internationals.
According to a cricket website, a face-to-face meeting between Ghauri and the undercover reporter took place in Delhi, in July. At that meeting, the umpire was asked whether he would do favours for cricketers who were sponsored by the ‘company’ the reporters represented. He replied saying it would be possible to do so with reference to lbws and run-outs only.