SJN Hearings: Alviro Petersen reiterates that match fixing took place in the Ramslam in 2015/16
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JOHANNESBURG – Alviro Petersen claimed on Thursday that match fixing definitely took place in the 2015/16 RamSlam T20 competition.
Petersen was testifying at the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings, with his submission primarily dealing with his role and subsequent sanction in the ‘match fixing’ saga related to the 2015/16 tournament which led to a life ban and subsequent imprisonment for Gulam Bodi and lengthy bans for four other players.
Petersen was banned for two years, ostensibly for not providing investigators with information in a timely fashion. That is something he disputed in his testimony on Thursday, also stating that the sanction and resulting actions unfairly painted him as a match-fixer in the eyes of the public.
“I maintain that fixing took place in the T20 RamSlam competition (in) 2015/16... despite Cricket SA saying in a communication that no fixing took place."
“I understand (why CSA said) that (because) if fixing took place in a competition, it could be bad for sponsors, it could be bad for the brand itself and it could impact on future developments. Cricket SA were busy with the Global T20 League at the time, so that could have had a negative effect on it.”
Petersen’s international career lasted nine years and included 36 Tests, 21 ODIs and two T20 Internationals. However his career was blighted by his attachment to those players caught up in the match-fixing episode.
Petersen, who has been vocal on social media about his role in the match-fixing saga, accused prominent sports lawyer, David Becker of being “malicious” towards him. Becker, led CSA’s investigation into the saga, with Petersen claiming on Thursday, that Becker effectively intimidated him into accepting the two year sanction.
Petersen said that a current Proteas player, whose name he refused to mention was also attached to the controversy. Petersen said the matter was dealt with "biasedly” and that he was a scapegoat, implying that other players are being protected.
Asked by Adv. Sandile July, one of Ntsebeza’s assistants, if white players were involved but not investigated, Petersen said that most of the information he got was from Thami Tsolekile, who was banned for seven years for his role in the scandal.
“I think that the best person who would be able to answer that is Thami Tsolekile, because I never got direct information from those players. What I did (in terms of getting information) was to ask Gulam, when I met him for the first time, ‘who are the guys involved, please tell me?’ I mentioned some names that Thami mentioned, but he didn’t quite confirm.”
Petersen said that one of his affidavits to the commission included the names of the players, some of whom he said were former international players.
“He (Tsolekile) mentioned those names to me,” Petersen told the hearing. July made it clear that the names of the players couldn’t be mentioned in the hearing.
Petersen added that there was so much more to the saga, so much “detailed stuff,” and that he would need a lot more time than the SJN project would be able to provide for him to explain “how complex this whole situation is.”
Asked by Ntsebeza what he expected from the commission when it submits its report to Cricket SA’s Board of Directors later this year, Petersen said he hoped the process would “set cricket back on track” and that he wanted to set the record straight as far as the fixing drama was concerned.
“If you look at the personal cost of what this has meant for me, it is huge. To walk around and be called a criminal and be called a cheat etc, it’s not nice. I dont think there is justification for that.”
“There is a narrative in the media that is being perpetuated, with this continuous thing of grouping me with players, who I know accepted money in relation to this match fixing scam and I think that is wrong. It has had a direct influence on me, on possibly my employment and future employment. I wanted to set that record straight.”