UPDATE 3-Cricket-ICC to investigate spot-fixing charges against umpires

Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:57pm IST

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(Adds quotes from Bangladesh umpire)

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI Oct 8 (Reuters) - The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched an investigation into match-fixing allegations made by an Indian television channel against international umpires.

Footage screened on India TV on Monday and seen by Reuters appeared to show umpires from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka negotiating deals with under-cover reporters to spot-fix matches.

The channel showed footage of Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, part of the ICC international panel of umpires, and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka agreeing to give favourable decisions in exchange for umpiring contracts and money.

"The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turnover any information which can assist the ICC's urgent investigations into this matter," the governing body said in a statement.

"The ICC re-iterates its zero-tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials. The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka."

In the sting operation, conducted in July and August, the reporters said they belonged to a sports management company and promised the umpires assignments in different events around the world, largely domestic Twenty20 leagues.

While Ghauri and Shah appeared to agree to give wrong decisions, Gallage was ready to pass on information about the toss, the pitch and weather conditions in a match before it was available to the public.

Shah flatly denied the allegations made against him.

"This is a plot to malign my character. I was taken to Delhi by a Bangladeshi agent to sign a contract for umpiring in the Sri Lanka Premier League," he told Reuters.

"But when I saw these people are corrupt, I changed my decision and did not conduct any match in the SLPL.

"I was never involved in anything like fixing."

In May, the same television channel's sting operation prompted the Indian cricket board to ban one uncapped cricketer for life and hand out lesser punishments to four others for involvement in corruption in domestic cricket.

Last year, Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in Britain following a sting operation for their role in a spot-fixing scandal relating to a test match against England at Lord's in August 2010.

The World Twenty20 tournament ended on Sunday. (Additional reporting by Azad Majumder in Dhaka; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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