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ICC gives clean chit to Oval one-dayer

cricket Updated: Oct 14, 2010 01:59 IST
Guardian
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Cricket's anti-corruption unit has concluded its investigation without charges following newspaper allegations that England's one-day international against Pakistan at The Oval last month was fixed.

Less than a month after the match took place in London on September 17, the ICC's anti-corruption unit has decided that "there was no compelling evidence to suspect individual players or support staff."

But that was the only crumb of comfort for Pakistan's beleaguered cricket board as an ICC board meeting imposed a 30-day deadline for the introduction of a raft of new measures to combat corruption or risk sanctions that could even include suspension from international cricket.

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has been given wider powers as chairman of the ICC's Pakistan Task Force to ensure that Pakistan gets its house in order. It will be an onerous task

Following an ICC board meeting in Dubai today, a statement said: "Following extensive investigations… the ACSU has verified all the available information and concluded that there was no compelling evidence to suspect individual players or support staff. The investigation is now complete but if new and corroborating evidence comes to light then clearly the ACSU will reopen the matter."

The ICC investigated claims that the Oval ODI was rigged after The Sun newspaper provided what it claimed was evidence that illegal betting syndicates knew details of Pakistan's innings.

Nevertheless, the evidence provided, which centered upon a phone conversation between an alleged Dubai-based match-fixer and an illegal Delhi bookmaker, has not been dismissed out of hand by the ACSU and is regarded as useful background into cricket's betting underworld.

The ICC had earlier warned the Pakistan board that it must "desist from taking any actions which might suggest a conflict of interest with regards to allegations that are the subject of disciplinary proceedings."

It also instructed Pakistan to "desist from making public comments and disclosing confidential information which undermine the integrity, reputation and image of the game and/or any ongoing disciplinary or criminal investigation/proceedings."

There was also a clear call to any Pakistan players who might be caught up in match-fixing to provide confidential evidence to the ACSU in return for a lesser sentence. "Any player who comes forward and in that process incriminates himself could, under the 'Substantial Assistance' provisions of the Anti-Corruption Code, seek to use his co-operation as a mitigating factor in the consideration of appropriate sanctions," the statement said.