Cricket authorities suspended six umpires at the centre of claims by an Indian television that they could be bribed to make favourable decisions during games.
An undercover investigation by India TV allegedly found that the umpires, including one on the international circuit, were willing to give biased decisions or provide inside information in return for payment. The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the suspensions after a meeting in Colombo, where the West Indies defeated hosts Sri Lanka in the final of the World Twenty20 tournament on Sunday.
“The ICC and its relevant Full Member Boards have agreed not to appoint any of the umpires named in a sting operation recently conducted by India TV to any domestic or international cricket matches,” it said in a statement. “Those boards who employ and nominate the umpires directly will conduct the investigations as a matter of urgency.”
Three of those named were from Sri Lanka, while two were from Pakistan. The sixth was Nadir Shah, one of two Bangladeshi members of the ICC’s international panel which officiates in matches around the world. Grainy footage appeared to show Shah saying he was willing to give decisions on demand.
An India TV transcript of the sting said Shah allegedly offered to give incorrect leg-before wicket, run-out and inside-edge verdicts.
“If the umpire is shown a favour, the umpire can do anything,” Shah was quoted as saying in the transcript.
The video does not show any cash being exchanged nor did the channel broadcast any proof of the umpires delivering decisions or information. Shah and the other umpires have rejected the allegations.
Dissanayake rejects allegations
Gamini Dissanayake, one of the Sri Lankans, said that he wanted an inquiry to start as soon as possible so he could clear his name.
“I am not involved in any fixing and this allegation is a complete lie,” said Dissanayake. “I have asked the board to have an inquiry at the earliest opportunity.”
Dissanayake officiated at two warm-up matches during the World Twenty20 and has also been a reserve umpire at international games when India, Pakistan and other nations have toured Sri Lanka.
“I think the Indian channel implicated Sri Lankan umpires to discredit the image of Sri Lanka,” he said. “I am confident I can clear my name.”
Sri Lanka Cricket said it had scheduled a formal hearing with the three local umpires.
India TV chairman Rajat Sharma has vowed that his channel would cooperate with the ICC by handing over its unedited tapes.
Shah was among the umpires at the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year, a local version of India’s IPL Twenty20 tournament. The competition was marred by corruption allegations and ended up with former Bangladeshi international Shariful Haque being indefinitely banned.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.