T20 League of Sri Lanka Investigated by ICC

According to current sports news update, it has been revealed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is interrogating the players of Sri Lanka on the suspected attempt to fix Sri Lankan Premier League matches initiated on Thursday. It has been revealed through various media sources that one of the ex-national cricketers tried to coordinate with Sri Lanka Premier League player. However, the former player is now being looked at by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). It has also been confirmed through newspapers that former national player who made attempt to contact with the league player is recently abroad. In addition to that, the past record of the alleged former Sri Lanka player is also not transparent that has increased the suspicion of ICC and ACU, as the ex-player was previously too accused of such match fixing but was later cleared of all charges. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue and lack of any conformity, the ICC has refused to discuss the on-going investigation and any questions pertaining to this issue. 

On the other side, the anti-corruption unit of Sri Lanka’s board has also refused all the comment pertaining to the match fixing. Keeping in view the on-going pandemic corona virus Covid-19, the Twenty20 tournament has initiated in the absence of spectators. However, there will be strict monitoring on the match as each and every move of players will be scrutinized by the ICC anti-corruption officials, the national board and the sports ministry. There are other numerous famous names that are inter-linked with the corruption charges of match fixing. Dilhara Lokuhettige, the Ex Sri Lankan fast bowler was also suspended two years back in 2018 due to charges of corruption associated to a limited-over league. Dilhara was the third Sri Lankan player who was charged under the ICC anti-corruption code, following action against former captain and ex-chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, and former paceman Nuwan Zoysa. It was later revealed that Jayasuriya was found guilty of failing to cooperate with a match-fixing investigation team and was banned for two years. However, Zoysa was suspended for match-fixing.

The Investigation of Sri Lankan Players

The latest update is that Cricket's world body is interrogating three former Sri Lankan players over the accusation of corruption. The name of the targets of investigation are still not revealed by the Sri Lanka Cricket Team officials or the International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption Unit. However, they have given an indication that neither of current national players are involved in this match-fixing. The reports have confirmed that considering the defamation of Cricket in Sri Lanka and the name of the nation, the state has introduced tough penalties for match fixing and have also secured the sports betting limitations in November. The reason behind is to ensure that no more scandals could taint the name of the country. 

Match fixing Accusation on Nuwan Zoysa

Nuwan Zoysa, the ex-fast bowling coach of Sri Lanka has also marked his comments last week in front of media, claiming that he is also planning to appeal a decision of an ICC-appointed tribunal who has accused him guilty of three offences pertaining to match fixing. Zoysa also stated that the charges made on him by the ICC-appointed tribunal after two years of investigation are completely baseless. 

Reputation of Sri Lanka in the eyes of ICC

Last year, the craziest of cricket, Sri Lanka introduced a law against corruption after then-sports minister Harin Fernando announced that the ICC believed the Indian Ocean island as the world's most corrupt cricket nation. In response, the Sri Lankan board and the ICC conducted an anti-corruption programs for team players and officials and prepared a 24-hour hotline to identify any "suspicious or corrupt activity." The tournament is considered to be Sri Lanka's primary top cricket since England unexpectedly announced of a dual-match Test series in March during the coronavirus pandemic spread. The beginning of the match was postponed thrice as the coronavirus limitation were executed by authorities to contain the pandemic that resulted in 94 lives and infected nearly 21,000 people at that time. One of the shocking statements regarding the corruption in cricket came from the former sports minister, Harin Fernando, stating that cricket in Sri Lanka has riddled with graft from the depth. In addition to that, he was also of the view that Sri Lanka is perceived by the ICC as one of the world's most corrupt nations.

Historical Background of Match Fixing

In cricket, match fixing is very common that take place as a match is played to entirely or partially pre-decided outcomes, ultimately violating the regulations of the game. In specific, the practice is that players are contacted by bookmakers and bribed in secret and asked to throw matches or parts of matches (such as the toss), or deliver other vital information. Fixing usually occurs in both international that includes Test matches and One Day Internationals and domestic cricket. In case any player or number of players are caught in match fixing, the ban is issued by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's governing body, or by the respective cricket board(s) to which that specific player belongs. There are categories for which the ban is issued, either it could be match fixing or the spot-fixing. Both of these bans are due to great offences under the ICC Cricket Code of Conduct.

It is evident that betting has ever since illegal on sports events in Sri Lanka, however the introduction of new rules has banned Sri Lankans from gambling on foreign contests too. The individual accused for betting will have to face 10 years in jail and fines of up to $555,000 for match-fixing. According to the new rule pertaining to match-fixing, people are banned to have family links to gambling businesses from sitting on cricket's governing body. The reason behind such laws targets the ex- Sri Lanka Cricket president named Thilanga Sumathipala, who was in charge of an executive committee member whereas his family was engaged in a gambling business. There have been numerous statements from the former Sri Lanka Cricket President, was also a businessman and politician, claiming himself innocent and often refusing his engagement in any kind of gambling side as the family business. 

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