Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) backed the three beleaguered umpires who are at the centre of a major match-fixing controversy connected to the just concluded ICC World Twenty20 event and said it was the responsibility of the ICC to investigate the allegations.
“We have the highest confidence in our officials and it is not correct to comment on allegations without a proper inquiry and facts,” said SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga.
“As far as Sri Lanka Cricket is concerned, our tolerance level for corruption and doping is zero. When it comes to SLPL we got the ICC to look into these areas and we have not got any bad reports apart from that incident which we are all aware of,” Ranatunga said.
“If there are any wrongdoings, people concerned can report it to the ICC and based on the reports and findings we will take action. Till such time we are not in a position to comment on that,” Ranatunga added.
Ranatunga also claimed that SLC’s newly appointed anti-corruption officer Lakshman de Silva would not be investigating the matter till ICC took some action on it.
“Even if he gets any complaints or evidence, he has to refer those to the ICC first. Based on ICC’s actions we will take the next step of action. We cannot initiate any inquiries before that,” Ranatunga said.
Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a media release last night and confirmed that the umpires named by the channel were not involved in the World T20 event, raising serious doubts about the entire episode.
“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” said the ICC statement.
ICC called on the TV station to hand over evidence to them for further investigations.
“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 statement said.
When contacted by Daily Mirror last night de Silva said he was not aware of the allegations that had received wide publicity in Indian media and promised to check them out.
The Indian media reports named umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston Dela Zilwa and Sagara Gallage as Sri Lankan umpires among six Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Pakistani umpires who had allegedly consented to fix matches in return for money.
The reports alleged that undercover reporters from India TV managed to record conversations with these umpires who had agreed to the scheme.
However Dela Zilwa and Dissanayake both flatly denied the allegations and told “Daily Mirror” that the stories are a complete fabrication.
“I was not involved in the ICC World T20, so how can I fix matches when I am not involved? This is absurd,” said Dela Zilwa.
“This is news to me. I was not officiating in any matches. It is shocking how our names have been linked to this. Obviously this is an attempt at mud slinging,” claimed Dissanayake.
However Gallage dodged the issue saying, “I don’t know anything about this,” and cut the phone when Daily Mirror contacted him last night.
Both Dela Zilwa and Dissanayake confessed they did not know about the development till Daily Mirror contacted them around 9 pm last night and even asked for the addresses of the websites that carried the news.
The six umpires who were exposed in the sting named "Operation World Cup" by India TV are: Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan and Nadir Shah of Bangaldesh, in addition to the three Sri Lankans.
The report alleged that a seventh umpire Sharfudoullah Shahid Saikat of Bangladesh refused to give any favour in lieu of money.
The entire sting operation had been telecast on Monday prime time by India TV.
According to Indian media reports the sting number two had named Sri Lankan premier panel umpire Gallage as the fourth umpire at the crucial India-Pakistan T20 World Cup match on September 17. It had alleged that for a payment of Rs 50,000, Gallage had agreed to reveal the match pitch report, weather report, toss report, and even the playing elevens of both teams.
Gallage had also promised allegedly to give Pakistani batsman Imran Nazir out, even if he was not out, in exchange for money in Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL).
Gallage even promised the undercover reporter to get a decision made in favour of India in course of the match by 'managing' the match referee and other officials, the reports added.
Gallage had recommended Dela Zilwa's name to the India TV undercover reporter. For the crucial T20 World Cup match on September 17 between Australia and England, Dela Zilwa had shared the pitch report, toss report and playing elevens of both teams and demanded Rs 50,000 bribe, the reports claimed.
This exposure had come close on the heels of five Indian cricketers found involved in spot-fixing and the reports said the TV programme had carried footage showing six umpires willing to give wrong decisions during a game.
The reports alleged that Dissanayake went a step ahead and claimed that by providing liquor to Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) officials, one can get any work done.
Gallage had been shown on the programme as saying he was ready to give not out as out and out as not out in any format of the game on their demand and was ready to spot-fix in SLPL matches on their demand.
Reports described him as a premiere panel Umpire who has officiated in 4 ODI's and 2 Test matches, and as 4th Umpire against India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. He has also officiated in many T-20 matches.
India TV named him as the same individual who had also helped them in SLPL league, semi-final and the final matches by charging 15,000 Indian currencies.
India TV website also has published a complete transcript of the conversations with Gallage. (Channaka de Silva)
Meanwhile the Gulf News reported
Hot on the heels of five Indian cricketers being found to be involved in spot-fixing, a new sting operation has revealed that six umpires were ready to be bribed during the recently-concluded Twenty20 World Cup and Sri Lanka Premier League in August.
India TV, which had earlier conducted a sting on corruption in India’s domestic circuit, has come up with footage showing six umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka willing to give wrong decisions during a game.
The umpires are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka’s Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage.
Among the officials interrogated on camera, only Shah and fellow Bangladeshi Sharfudoullah Ibne Shahid represent the current umpire panel of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The channel, however, claimed that Sharfudoullah refused to give any favour in lieu of money offered by the undercover reporters.
But Shah, who has officiated in 40 One Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals, was ready to fix any match at international or domestic level.
Shah also revealed that Pakistani batsman Nasir Jamshed “fixed” matches in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), the channel said.
In another video of the sting, Sri Lankan umpire Gallage agreed to leak information on the pitch, weather, toss, and the playing XIs of India and Pakistan ahead of their World Twenty20 warm-up match on September 17 for Rs.50,000. He was the fourth umpire in the game.
Dissanayake went a step ahead as he claimed that by providing liquor to Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) officials, one can get any work done.
During the reporter’s conversation with Ghauri, a former ICC umpire from Pakistan, the latter promised to do anything for a payment. He has officiated in 43 ODIS and 14 Tests, with his last international game being in November 2010.
The channel said Ghauri’s countryman Siddiqui was also ready to get a decision in favour of India for money. Anees promised that he would manage the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to accept a decision favourable to India. (Source: gulfnews)