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July 9, 2013
Sri Lanka Cricket has banned two umpires, Sagara Gallage and Maurice Zilva, who were named in a sting operation last year dealing with illegal payments for influencing first-class matches. A third umpire, Gamini Dissanayake, has been downgraded from the top umpire's panel for a year and issued a "severe warning" by the board CEO.
The decisions came after an emergency executive committee meeting in Colombo, where the recommendations of the disciplinary committee's recommendations were endorsed.
The sting, broadcast by India TV, claimed to have "exposed" several first-class umpires from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan who were allegedly willing to give decisions favouring players for a fee. In the sting, conducted in July and August 2012, the reporters claimed to belong to a sports management company and promised the umpires officiating assignments in events of all kinds around the world, largely domestic Twenty20 leagues.
The hardest hit of the three Sri Lankan umpires was Gallage, who was banned for 10 years from all cricket, while Zilva got a three-year ban. Dissanayake, the third Sri Lankan umpire named in the sting, was the most high-profile of the three, having regularly been the fourth umpire in international matches, though he was yet to be one of the main officials in an international game.
The Pakistan and Bangladesh boards have already handed out punishments to their umpires caught in the sting. Bangladesh's Nadir Shah was banned for 10 years by the BCB on corruption charges, and Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri and Anis Siddiqi have already been slapped with bans.
Zilva and Gallage were the reserve umpires in two warm-up matches each before the World T20 in Sri Lanka last year.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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