Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa is on the brink of charging at least five players for their involvement in the match-fixing scandal that threw the sport’s most popular domestic competition into turmoil this summer.
The five players – four from the Highveld Lions and one from the Titans – are going to be charged in the coming days.
The five are understood to have all had contact with Gulam Bodi who earlier this year admitted to being an intermediary for illegal gambling syndicates – understood to be based on the Asian sub-continent.
Bodi has been banned by Cricket SA from involvement in all cricket-related activities for 20 years.
A sixth player, whose name is known to The Independent on Saturday, is also still under investigation. The exact nature of his involvement in the scandal must still be determined and it’s understood CSACricket SA and the investigation officials are treading carefully before charges can be laid.
Two players – Alviro Petersen and Lonwabo Tsotsobe – publicly admitted that they were being investigated.
Petersen told Wisden India in Marchlast month that he’d reported an approach from Bodi and had in fact helped Cricket SA with its investigation.
The match-fixing scandal arose last November, when CCricket SA announced that attempts had been made to fix matches in the RamSlam T20 competition – South Africa’s most watched domestic event.
The competition is the only one of the country’s three franchise competitions that is broadcast overseas, putting it firmly in the sights of numerous illegal gambling syndicates operating on the sub-continent and the Middle East.
The exact nature of the five players’ involvement will be established when they are charged next week. It is understood that their involvement includes not reporting an approach from Bodi – which they are bound to do in terms of their contracts – to accepting money for spot-fixing.
Bodi, along with the five players, will be charged under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 that includes a clause specific to corrupting sports events.
Known as the “Hansie” clause – a reference to the former national skipper Hansie Cronjé who admitted to attempting to fix matches in 2000 – it reads: “Any person who… accepts or agrees or offers to accept any gratification from any other person… or gives or agrees or offers to give to any other person any gratification... in return for engaging in any act which constitutes a threat to or undermines the integrity of any sporting event… including‚ in any way influencing the run of play or the outcome of a sporting event; or not reporting the act… is guilty of the offence of corrupt activities relating to sporting events.”
When announcing Bodi’s ban at the end of January, Cricket SA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the organisation was confident that they’d caught Bodi in the planning phase and that no matches had been fixed.
“Several players rejected Bodi’s approaches,” Lorgat said at the time.
At least one of the players set to be charged is understood to be in dire straits financially owing the SA Revenue Service a substantial sum understood to be in the region of six figures.
Four of the players were still contracted to their franchises, but none will receive new contracts owing to the charges they will face.
Cricket SA refused to comment on Friday.