South Africa news January 25, 2016

CSA imposes 20-year ban on Bodi

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Gulam Bodi's 20-year ban not the end of the controversy

Cricket South Africa has banned Gulam Bodi for 20 years from participating in any international or domestic match, or any cricket activity other than anti-corruption programs after he admitted to contriving or attempting to fix matches during the 2015 Ram Slam T20 series.

Five of those years will be suspended on the condition that Bodi commits no further offences under the code and demonstrates to CSA's reasonable satisfaction that he has actively and constructively participated in corruption-related player education programs when asked to do so.

Following a CSA investigation which they first made public on November 6 last year, when they issued a press release warning players to be vigilant after they had received information that an international syndicate was attempting to corrupt domestic cricket, Bodi was charged on December 31 with several counts of breaching the anti-corruption code. The charges go back to September 2015. Bodi's confession came 18 days later and CSA issued their sanction a week after that.

CSA would not be drawn on whether other players are under investigation but confirmed that the case is not closed. They could not put a timeframe on when they expect to conclude. They may also be compelled to provide their findings on Bodi to the police, who could launch an investigation of their own.

"Under the circumstances, we are satisfied with the sanction. All we have to do now is comply," Ayoob Kaka, Bodi's lawyer told ESPNcricinfo.

Asked whether Bodi was aware of, or concerned, that CSA would lay a complaint with the police, Kaka said: "It will be up to CSA to decide whether they launch a complaint. We've co-operated with them so we are not too worried about that."

Despite the time span over which they charges are spread - which include the Africa Cup, a T20 tournament for provincial amateur teams and African national sides and the Ram Slam - South Africa's T20 tournament which was broadcast in India for the first time last year - CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the body believed no matches had been fixed.

"The evidence that we've got and the confessions made by Bodi suggest we got him in a planning phase and no fixes were active." Lorgat said at a press briefing during the Centurion Test. "Several players rejected Bodi's approaches."

Whether those players will face any action is not known. Under section 2.4.4 of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Code, failure to "to disclose to the ACSU (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in Corrupt Conduct," is an offense. CSA have their own anti-corruption code, based on a template of the ICC's code, which contains an equivalent clause.

Like the ICC's code, CSA's contains sanctions which range from no ban to a maximum lifetime ban. Without going into the details of what Bodi has admitted to, CSA decided on his punishment based on several factors which they outlined in a proceedings explanation on their website.

Among the factors considered was the extent of corrupt activities, the damage to the integrity of the game, the length of Bodi's career and his seniority, the fact he had had education on anti-corruption and public sentiment. That was weighed up against Bodi's co-operation and confession at an early stage of proceedings, his clean past history, the stress and anxiety he suffered from personal and financial issues, his experience of public contempt and ridicule and that he showed remorse was willing to issue a public apology. Although Bodi has not issued any statements, those were deemed mitigating enough to hand him a sanction of 20 years rather than a lengthier ban.

"CSA thoroughly considered all the relevant factors and determined that a lengthy ban was appropriate. Our attitude to corruption will always be one of zero tolerance," Lorgat said.

CSA's commitment to anti-corruption also compels them to consider whether to involve other authorities such as the police. "We abide by the law and jurisdiction of this country and whatever action needs to be taken will," Louis von Zeuner, an independent board member of CSA, who is chair of the audit and risk committee, said.

When news of Bodi's involvement first broke on January 14, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, the spokesperson for the directorate for priority crime investigations, told ESPNcricinfo the police were aware of the investigation but had not received any information which would lead them a case. That may change if CSA provides them with Bodi's confession. Under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Law which was introduced in 2004, match-fixing is a crime in South Africa. The Brigadier was unavailable for comment on Monday afternoon.

With the ongoing process still to run its course, Lorgat could not reassure fans that the game is clean, although he did not believe the problem was confined to South Africa. "It is not a categoric statement I can make now. The investigation is still ongoing," he said. "I think it's damaging to the reputation of cricket. The fact that it happened in South Africa just makes it that much more difficult in a South African environment. It happened in England. It happened with a Pakistan Test match at Lord's. This is not unique to South Africa. We've said that for a long time."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent