ICC launch investigation into allegations of Ashes spot-fixing
Newspaper report claims spot-fixers offered to rig perios of play in Perth Test match
The WACA during the opening day of the third Ashes Test in Perth. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty
The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation into allegations the third Ashes Test has been targeted by spot-fixers after a newspaper’s undercover investigation claimed to have been offered details of rigged periods of play.
The ICC admitted the matter was “of grave concern” but the organisation’s anti-corruption general manager, Alex Marshall, indicated that from an initial assessment he did not believe there to be evidence to suggest the current Test match had been corrupted.
According to a report in The Sun, two men from India asked for £140,000 to fix certain markets, including the amount of runs scored in an over. No individual players from either Australia or England – who are playing in Perth this week – were mentioned.
“At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that any players in this Test have been in contact with the alleged fixers,” Marshall said. “The allegations are wide ranging and relate to various forms cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments. We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation.”
Both Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board also distanced their players from the claims before the start of play in the third and potentially decisive Test match at the Waca.
James Sutherland, CA’s chief executive, said there was no suspicion on Australian players. “There is no substance to these allegations or justification to suspect that this Test match or indeed the Ashes series as a whole is subject to corrupt activities,” he said.
“My comments today are based on a briefing I’ve had from Alex Marshall and I don’t think for one moment anyone should believe that we’re complacent. Alex Marshall will, with his team, continue to investigate this matter. Obviously if there’s anything credible it will be a deep and forensic investigation.
“The timing is a bit strange, obviously, but I guess I’ll leave that to Alex to make judgements on what the reason behind this might be.”
An ECB spokesman added: “ECB work closely with the ICC and their anti-corruption unit to protect the integrity of the international game. We are aware of these allegations and there is no suggestion that any of the England team is involved in any way.”
Before the toss in Perth, won by England, Steve Smith said he was aware of the allegations and that there is “no place for that in our game”.
“As far as I know there’s nothing that has been going on or anything like that,” the Australia captain told the ABC.
Cricket Australia had earlier affirmed its “zero tolerance” policy on anyone attempting to bring the game into disrepute and vowed to work with the ICC’s anti-corruption unit in any investigation.
“Australian cricket has a long-standing, proactive approach to sports integrity management and Cricket Australia has a dedicated Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to prevent corruption within Australian domestic competitions, including the BBL,” a CA spokesman said.
“In addition to this, all players participating in CA sanctioned competitions, including the BBL, are required to complete an anti-corruption education session before they can compete.
“CA works closely with the ICC ACU on all international fixtures played in Australia.
“Players are able to report any suspicions they have on a confidential basis and in the past there has been a strong Australian player culture to do so.”