Match-fixing: SLC climbs down on franchise termination in Lanka Premier League

Colombo, May 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket on Thursday said its T20 league will go ahead with its full roster of matches and feature all five teams, a day after announcing that Dambulla Thunders franchise would be terminated due to its owner Tamim Rahman’s arrest on suspicion of match-fixing.

SLC announced that the franchise will have a new owner and the tournament will be held as planned from July 1 to 21.

“The Lanka premiership league season 5 will continue with its full schedule and roster of matches featuring five teams,” a release said.

It added that SLC was in the final stages of confirming a new ownership.

“We assure that all players fans and stakeholders that the league’s integrity and the spirit of cricket will be preserved throughout the tournament.” Rahman, a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, was arrested by immigration officials at the city’s Bandaranaike International Airport following a court order.

The Dambulla franchise was bought by Imperial Sports Group, led by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, in April.

However, the exact charges against Rahman are not yet clear.

“While the specifics of the charges against Mr. Rahman remain unclear, the integrity and smooth functioning of the Lanka Premier League are of utmost importance,” SLC stated on Wednesday.

Rahman was being investigated under two provisions of the country’s sports act related to match-fixing and attempting to place bets.

Reacting to the development, LPL rights holder IPG group chairman Anil Mohan said, “We are committed to the highest standards of transparency and professionalism and will continue to support all our teams, players, and fans during this transition.” Recently, a court in Sri Lanka ordered Indian nationals Yoni Patel and P Akash to surrender their passports as both are set to be indicted for match-fixing in the unsanctioned Legends Cricket League in Colombo.

Patel owns a team in the unsanctioned legends league.

The two, who are currently out on bail, have been accused of trying to fix matches in the league, which was played between March 8 and 19 at Kandy’s Pallekele Stadium.

Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to criminalise match-fixing and corruption in sports when it passed a law against the menace in 2019. Anyone found guilty can be jailed for up to 10 years and also be required to pay fines.

The law also seeks to punish acts of omission such as failure to report corrupt approaches.

Source: PTI News


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