Reports are coming out of the UK, of extensive cricket match fixing orchestrated by British sports agent-property developer Mazhar Majeed. Majeed was released on bail after being arrested on the suspicion of rigging a Lords test match between England and Pakistan.
According to reports the arrest came after Scotland Yard followed up on a tip that was received a month ago regarding the England-Pakistan series at Nottingham being fixed. Tabloid reports say that Majeed claims to have been in charge of a racket involving seven players for a span of two and a half years. He has also allegedly claimed to have amassed a lot of money from the operation.
Over the past weekend, four Pakistan players were questioned as part of Scotland yard’s enquiry into whether they had accepted money from Majeed to tamper with a test match at Lord’s. It has been confirmed that the players’ hotel was raided and their mobile phones seized bathe police as part of the investigation. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Sardari has reportedly asked the country’s cricket board for a report regarding this issue.
Sources say that the cricketers under investigation could be questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. This charge carries a maximum jail sentence of ten years. The rest of the team is also expected to be questioned as witnesses.
The four match series was won by England, but now the victory doesn’t seem so sweet. Majeed says that two players on the Pakistan team explicitly followed his orders during two days to deliberate deliver no balls by overstepping the crease. This was supposedly to aid in spot betting, which makes millions in betting circles. What is more disturbing to cricket fans and all involved in the sport is that Majeed has also alleged that he can arrange for players to throw Test matches and one-day internationals as well.
The International Cricket Council has sent in investigators their anti-corruption unit from Dubai to study the Tests and one-day matches played by Pakistan in the time frame Majeed has referred to. 82 cricket matches will be investigated. They will be working with the Metropolitan Police who are currently investigating charges that bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif deliberately delivered no-balls at Majeed’s behest. The team’s captain Salman Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal are also being questioned regarding this. Commentators said that the host of no-balls, dropped catches and wide balls at the matches at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge had raised suspicions.
The police are also looking into the accounts of football clubs that Majeed owns –the Croydon Athletic football club, a non-league team- that he has allegedly been using to launder the money he makes from his match-fixing rackets.
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