ECB to charge Vincent, Arif over fixing

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iol spt may22 Vincent AFP The England and Wales Cricket Board are set to charge Lou Vincent, pictured, and his former Sussex team-mate Naved Arif with fixing the outcome of a county match. Photo by: Noah Seelam/AFP

London – The England and Wales Cricket Board are set to charge Lou Vincent and his former Sussex team-mate Naved Arif with fixing the outcome of a county match, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Thursday.

The Telegraph said former New Zealand batsman Vincent, who has already confessed to fixing, and Arif, a Pakistani, were being charged in connection with a 40-over match between Sussex and Kent played at Hove in August 2011.

If the pair are found guilty, it would be the first proven case of the result of a county match being fixed.

The Sussex-Kent match which was televised live and, which the Telegraph said attracted bets totalling more than £12 million ($20m) on one regulated gambling website alone, the highest total for any match of its kind in the past three years, and millions more on illegal markets in India.

It emerged last week, in leaked testimony to an International Cricket Council probe, that Vincent told investigators he was approached by his fixer “NG” the day before the match in a hotel in Brighton and that he received £40,000 to throw the game.

The Telegraph added there were suspicions at the time the match was corrupt but it was cleared by the ICC's much-criticised anti-corruption unit, under fire for its failure to bring to book a major fixer, following an investigation.

But the paper added the case was reopened in August 2012 by the ECB's own security unit, led by former Metropolitan Police detective Chris Watts.

The 32 year-old Arif was born in Pakistan and qualified as a non-overseas player for Sussex through his wife's Danish passport. He was released by Sussex in 2012.

There is no suggestion any other player from either team was involved in the alleged fix.

Sussex were cruising to victory despite Arif's expensive bowling.

He took the new ball but only bowled six overs and conceded 41

runs with two wides, an economy rate of 6.83.

In reply, Sussex looked set for a win at 76 for no wicket, chasing a target of 217.

But they lost four wickets for seven runs in four overs including that of Vincent who, batting at three, was run out for one off six balls.

Arif batted at nine and scored 11 off 29 balls as Sussex were bowled out for 202 to lose by 14 runs.

Arif was dropped for the next match against Middlesex and played only three more one day matches for Sussex before being released.

If the charges against the pair are proven, bans issued by the ECB would apply globally because of a reciprocal agreement between all the major cricket-playing countries.

The controversial Lord's Test of 2011 led to three Pakistan players ÄSalman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer Ä being banned and jailed for their roles in a spot-fixing scam.

Meanwhile former Essex paceman Mervyn Westfield was also jailed for his role in spot-fixing, where an incident during the match rather than the result of a game is manipulated for a betting scam, during a county match that led to a life ban for former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.

However whether Vincent, who is now in Auckland, and Arif will face criminal charges will depend upon whether British prosecutors decide if such action is the best use of taxpayers' money. – Sapa-AFP


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