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August 14, 2012
The alleged incident of corruption in Sri Lanka, revolving around a taped conversation, occurred before the SLPL started and will not affect its integrity, the league's organisers said on Tuesday. The comments came on a day when a Sri Lankan paper said it had received the tape but chose not to publish its contents following doubts over its authenticity.
Sandiip Bhammer, CEO of Somerset Entertainment Ventures, the league's promoters, said the corruption allegations had not cast aspersions on the tournament's integrity. "The allegations were made and the anti-corruption people alerted prior to the tournament launching, so if anything, the anti-corruption will be even more vigilant during the tournament," he said. "They are just allegations at this point. Nothing has been confirmed."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror published a statement claiming they had been first to gain possession of the tape, but decided not to publish due to "difficulty in establishing the authenticity of the recording". The conversation is said to be almost entirely in Hindi, and appears to be about fixing matches in the SLPL.
The tape is said to have been given to the newspaper through an unknown source who claimed to be close to the SLPL on August 7. After enlisting a translator to interpret the conversation, staff decided to alert the SLC and SEV.
The tape was then handed to the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) on August 9. SLC are currently investigating the allegations in coordination with the ACSU. SLC officials declined to comment any further on the issue.
The SLPL has suffered poor crowds during its first three days, and the allegations come as yet another hurdle for a tournament that has experienced severe teething issues. The SLPL was first announced for 2011 but was abandoned weeks before the tournament was scheduled, due to the withdrawal of Indian players, around whom much of the tournament sponsorship had revolved. This year's tournament, which began on Saturday, was preceded by a week in which several high-profile players, including Chris Gayle and Shakib Al Hasan, withdrew through injury.
The anti-corruption measures for the SLPL are identical to those implemented for international matches. Two members of the ACSU are in Sri Lanka to oversee the tournament; they are the same officers who were present during the recently concluded India series and the Pakistan tour in June.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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