Al Jazeera defers meeting with ICC

The wait continues for the International Cricket Council, which is attempting to secure the unedited footage of Al Jazeera’s documentary about corruption in cricket, with the television network stating that a meeting with the cricket governing body at this stage would be premature.

Close on the heels of ICC chief executive David Richardson mentioning that a meeting was on the cards, a spokesperson of Al Jazeera’s investigative unit said it should be deferred considering the possibility of criminal investigations in Sri Lanka and India – the two places where the documentary, titled Cricket’s Match Fixers, alleged that corrupt practices took place.

The documentary had highlighted several forms of corruption and means of influencing a game. It showed curators, working in collaborating with fixers, willing to doctor pitches at the Galle cricket stadium. It claimed that certain periods of play – during the India-Australia Test in Ranchi and India-England Test in Chennai – were scripted and alleged that three England cricketers and two from Australia were involved.

“With regard to a potential meeting with the ICC, the broadcaster had to take into account ongoing legal considerations, including potential criminal investigations into the spot-fixing allegations in Sri Lanka and India. That being the case, a meeting with the ICC would be premature at this stage,” an Al Jazeera spokesman said.

“It should also be borne in mind that in certain respects the broadcast puts the ICC itself under the spotlight, although we are confident that this will not ultimately be a bar to cooperation in due course.”

The network’s statement was in response to the one made by Richardson on June 1, which had sought all evidence to enable the ICC “conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation”.

“I ask Al Jazeera to release to us all the material they have relating to corruption in cricket. We will conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation and will ensure no stone is left unturned as we examine all allegations of corruption made in the programme. To do so, we need to see all the evidence they state they possess.

“I am encouraged by their public commitment to cooperate and now ask that they do so, in releasing all relevant material. We understand and fully respect the need to protect journalistic sources and our ACU team have worked with other media companies on that basis. However, to prove or disprove these allegations, we need to see the evidence referred to in the programme,” Richardson had stated in a media release from the ICC.

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