It is most unfortunate but corruption exists in all levels of human activity. The sporting world could not be an exception. On a case that goes back to 2019, four UAE players had been charged with conspiracy to fix matches on the, at the time, upcoming tournament, or refusal to cooperate with the investigation conducted by ACU. It was a moment that not only harmed the sport. It also harmed the betting world as all cricket betting strategies that they implemented, hoping for some decent profit, were thrown away.
The infractions of the anti-corruption code
Mohammad Naveed, captain of the UAE team at the time, was provisionally withdrawn right before the first warm-up confrontation with Scotland, along with batter Shaiman Anwar, seamer Qadeer Ahmed and Mehar Chhayakar, pending the outcome of the investigation on fixing matches of the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
The docket stated that Ahmed divulged inside information to Chhayakar that he knew or should have known that it could be used to produce certain betting results, about UAE’s tour to the Netherlands. The latter later failed to cooperate with the investigation that was launched. The other two perpetrators allegedly fixed the Qualifier. An additional charge was brought against Naveed pertaining to fixing matches for the T10 League.
The independent Tribunal that tried the case, after a complete hearing that included oral and written arguments and examination of witnesses, punished Naveed and Anwar in March 2021 with an 8-year long banning from all cricket. Both were found guilty of violating articles 2.1.1 and 2.4.4 of the anti-corruption code. It took another month for the decision about the punishment of Qadeer Ahmed Khan. In April of 2021 he was banned for five years for six counts of infringement of the anti-corruption code.
It took another year and a half to reach a decision about Mehar Chhayakar. The reason being that he received additional charges at the time of Ahmed Khan’s punishment, causing the process to be protracted. The total docket for him stated 2 counts of Article 2.1.1 violation, 2 counts for Article 2.1.4, 2 counts for Article 2.4.6 and an infraction of Article 2.4.7. The result was a 14-year ban from all cricket.
Alex Marshal, general manager of ICC, had this to comment:
«We first encountered Mehar Chhayakar through his involvement in organizing a corrupt cricket tournament in Ajman, in 2018. The charges for which he has now received a lengthy ban are further examples of his continuing efforts to corrupt and damage our sport.»
It is a very unusual circumstance for someone to try and fix matches on international tournaments. They are subject to more intense scrutiny and control and it is only a matter of time before the crime is discovered and duly punished. It’s the premise that all Asian bookies and their European counterparts take as granted when they prepare and release their offers for these competitions. However, it is also the premise that all fans take for granted when they consider that what they support is clean and fair.