LONDON/KARACHI: Two men have admitted conspiring to offer bribes to professional cricket players.
Yousef Anwar, 36, and Mohammed Ijaz, 34, were arrested last February as part of an investigation by the National Crime Agency into alleged spot-fixing in T20 tournaments organised by national cricket boards from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Both men had previously denied the offences but changed their pleas on Monday ahead of a scheduled trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Anwar and Ijaz pleaded guilty to conspiring together between November 2016 and December 2016 to offer financial advantages to players in the Bangladesh Premier League, with the intention of inducing them to perform improperly by failing to play competitively in good faith.
They also admitted the same charge in relation to players taking part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) between November 2016 and February 2017.
Anwar, of Littlebrook Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, and Ijaz, of Chippenham Road, Sheffield, were granted bail ahead of sentencing, expected to take place early next year.
A third defendant, Pakistan’s Nasir Jamshed, 33, of High Street, Walsall denies being part of the bribery conspiracy in relation to PSL.
The prosecution will open its case against him today (Tuesday).
The duo came into attention during 2017 edition of PSL when Pakistani cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were caught playing pre-decided dot-balls in the opening game.
Both were immediately suspended from PSL where they were representing Islamabad United. It was revealed that both the players by Jamshed who introduced them to Anwer.
Jamshed was banned by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for 10 years for his role in the spot-fixing scandal. Both Latif and Khan had received five years ban with Khan having his half of ban suspended.
Khan, 30, had earlier this year, confessed to his crime and sought an apology. PCB has allowed him to return to cricket and has included him in PSL draft list.
Sources believe that the confession by Anwar and Ijaz could lead to further names who were approached and who didn’t report these approaches.
According to International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption code, players are bound to report all corrupt approaches to assigned anti-corruption officers.officers.