CA Calls Match-Fixing Allegations Outlandish

Sydney, Oct 11 (IANS): Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has said the claims made by Pakistani player agent Mazhar Majeed about Australian match-fixing "appear to be outlandish, and made by a person of dubious repute".

Majeed's claims to an undercover reporter from the now defunct The News of the World, in a secretly recorded conversation, were aired in a London court in the spot-fixing case against Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer on the fourth day of their trial Monday.

According to Majeed, Australian players were notorious for manipulating betting on "brackets", periods of matches in which some bookmakers accept bets about how many runs would be scored.

Sutherland said while Majeed's claims appear to be baseless, CA would not immediately dismiss them.

"These would appear to be baseless allegations, but at the same time cricket needs to stand very firm in its conviction against corruption in our sport. If there are allegations that have any sense of credibility around them then it's very important we take all of the necessary action to investigate," Sutherland was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"If we charge players and find them guilty we will have no qualms about issuing a life sentence on players who are found guilty of match fixing."

Sutherland said he would contact the International Cricket Council Tuesday to verify his belief there were no ongoing investigations into Australian players.

"In my dealings with the ICC I'm very confident I would know and understand if there were concerns about Australian players, allegations about players or investigations afoot in regards to Australian players. I have heard none of that."

Sutherland has not yet contacted any of Australia's elite players, many of whom are preparing for a limited-overs series in South Africa.

Majeed accused the Australian players of being the "biggest" match-fixers in world cricket.

"The Australians, they are the biggest, they have 10 brackets a game," Majeed said on the tape played to the court.

Former Pakistan captain Butt and fast bowler Asif are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

Butt, Asif and Aamer are accused of conspiring with Majeed to bowl deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test against England at Lord's in August of last year.

Butt and Asif deny the charges. Majeed and Aamer are not required to appear in court.


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Title: CA Calls Match-Fixing Allegations Outlandish

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