Australia board hits back at ‘outlandish’ fixing claims

(Reuters) – Cricket Australia (CA) has hit back at allegations Australian players are involved in match-fixing, saying the claims made by a sports agent were “baseless and outlandish”.

Sports agent Mazhar Majeed, accused of taking bribes to fix matches, had said Australian cricketers were “the biggest” culprits of fixing and they fixed “brackets”, a set period of a match on which punters bet, a London court heard on Monday.

In response, CA Chief Executive James Sutherland told reporters that the allegations appeared to be “outlandish”.

“The sweeping statements unfairly malign Australian cricketers,” Sutherland said yesterday. “We haven’t been able to speak to the International Cricket Council overnight … but we will definitely make contact with them very quickly.”

Sutherland said the world governing body of the sport had a very sophisticated anti-corruption unit and he would have been tipped off by the ICC if an Australian cricketer was on the radar.

“The ICC attend every single international cricket match with their anti-corruption unit and there is nothing I have heard to suggest that there are Australian players who are of interest to them,” he added.

Agent Majeed, 36, told an undercover journalist that match-fixing had been going on “for centuries” and named celebrated former Pakistan fast-bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as alleged participants, the court heard.

The CA chief said it would work with the ICC to investigate a player if any credible evidence was uncovered.

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

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