COLOMBO: Sri Lanka Cricket banned two umpires on Tuesday for making unfair decisions in return for cash.
The umpires were first charged with spot-fixing in a sting by an Indian TV programme last year. Following a disciplinary hearing over the allegations, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) proclaimed umpires Sagara Gallage and Maurice de la Zilwa banned for 10 and three years respectively, from all forms of the game.
SLC did not reveal details of the hearing or the allegations, but official cricket sources said the disciplinary panel found sufficient evidence to punish them.
A source close to the disciplinary enquiry said that Gallage had declined to participate in the hearing.
"It is clear from the evidence that the two umpires had negotiations with the Indian party (TV sting) and agreed to provide information for monetary benefit," the source said, asking to remain anonymous. "But, neither of them were in a position to provide any information because they were not involved in umpiring any of the first class matches at the time."
A third umpire, Gamini Dissanayake, was demoted to umpiring in a lower domestic league for a period of 1 year, SLC said, after the television network disclosed that it had approached him as well during the sting operation.
Dissanayake – the most high-profile of the three umpires who declared his innocence when the programme was aired in October – has not been directly implicated in any bribery allegations, the source said. However, he was faulted for engaging in conversation with the Indian party who had offered him money in exchange for information about teams and players.
"From the tapes, it is clear that he did not agree to provide information, but he should have stopped the conversation with the Indian party," the source said.
There was no immediate comment from any of the three umpires.
The undercover investigation by the India TV channel allegedly found a total of six umpires (including one on the international panel) who were willing to give biased decisions or provide inside information on teams in exchange for cash payments.
Three of the six named by the TV programme were from Sri Lanka, while two were from Pakistan. The sixth was Nadir Shah, a Bangladeshi member of the International Cricket Council's international panel which officiates in matches around the world.
Shah was banned for 10 years by Bangladesh authorities in March. The video evidence showed a grainy footage of Shah saying he was willing to give decisions on demand. The umpire had stood in 40 one-day and several T20 internationals before being banned.