Unnamed players from five Australian cricket matches have been implicated a new documentary on spot-fixing by the Al Jazeera television network.
Al Jazeera said it had uncovered evidence of corruption in 15 international cricket matches between 2010 and 2012, including “a small group” of England players in seven matches and Pakistan players in three matches.
It is the second broadcast on the topic aired by the Qatar-based network this year, leaving Australia’s players “sick and tired” of the accusations.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has called on Al Jazeera to cooperate in investigations, having opted against handing over information after the first documentary.
“The ICC is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket,” ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall said in a statement, via ESPN.
“As you would expect we will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully.
“However, I must refute the assertion that cricket does not take the issue of corruption seriously, we have more resources than ever before working to rid our sport of corruption.
“The investigation into these allegations has already commenced and will run alongside a number of other live unrelated investigations. When considering the claims, we will work with professional independent betting analysts.
“As with the first programme we have, and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster.
“We have made repeated efforts to engage with the broadcaster as it can play such a crucial part in the full and thorough investigation it has called for.
“We do welcome the commitment from the broadcaster to share the files with Interpol and, I hope, other law enforcement agencies who can act upon the information and support us in ridding the sport of these criminals.”
Fed up of Al Jazeera match fixing claims until they finally hand over their (sic) evidence to the authorities. Not worthy of any publicity or serious consideration until then. @AJEnglish
— Jonathan Agnew (@Aggerscricket) October 21, 2018
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland echoed the ICC’s demand in a statement released on Monday morning.
“Cricket Australia takes a zero-tolerance approach against anyone trying to compromise the integrity of the game, and to suggest anything otherwise is unsubstantiated and incorrect,” he said.
“Prior to the broadcast of Al Jazeera’s documentary, Cricket Australia’s integrity unit conducted a review of the latest claims by Al Jazeera, from a known criminal source, and, from the limited information provided by Al Jazeera, our team have not identified any issues of corruption by any current or former player, including in relation to Big Bash League matches.
“We have full confidence in our players in also protecting the game, and we are working closely with the ACA to keep them informed of any developments.
“The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit and we will continue to work with them in order to ensure the integrity of the game.
“We urge Al Jazeera to provide all un-edited materials and any other evidence to the ICC anti-corruption unit.”
The Australian Cricketers’ Association, meanwhile, said the nation’s players joined the fight against Al Jazeera’s claims.
“Enough is enough when it comes to unsupported accusations which unfairly tarnish players reputations,” chief executive Alistair Nicholson said.
“The players are sick and tired of being subject to accusations, without the proper evidence to substantiate it.”
The allegations against English players were dismissed by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s integrity team.
“Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration, it has been properly assessed,” the ECB said in a statement.
“Analysis of this by the ECB integrity team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.
“The ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously.
“The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game.”