ECB charge Lou Vincent and Sussex team-mate Naveed Arif for match-fixing

May 22, 2014, 23:05 IST | AFP

In a first of its kind instance, ex-New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and his former Sussex county team-mate Naved were today charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board for fixing the outcome of a county match in 2011

London: The England and Wales Cricket Board have charged Lou Vincent and his former Sussex team-mate Naveed Arif with fixing the outcome of a county match, the governing body announced Thursday.

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Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman, who has already confessed to fixing in several countries, has been charged with a total of 14 offences in relation to two county matches in August 2011 -- a Twenty20 match between Sussex and Lancashire and a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent.

Lou Vincent
Lou Vincent

Arif, a Pakistani, has been charged with six offences in relation to the 40-over game between Sussex and Kent in August 2011.

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The ECB said both players had been "provisionally suspended from all cricketing activities" organised, authorised or supported by the ECB, the International Cricket Council, other national federations and their constituent members.

Chris Watts, the head of the ECB's anti-corruption unit, said in a board statement: "This has been an extremely complex and lengthy investigation co-ordinated across many jurisdictions around the world.

"This matter is now the subject of formal legal proceedings and we will therefore make no further comment other than to re-iterate our determination to bring to account the very small minority who seek to corrupt cricket."

If Vincent and Arif are found guilty, it would be the first proven case of the result of a county match being fixed.

The Sussex-Kent match was televised live, with a report earlier Thursday in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper saying the fixture had attracted bets totalling more than £12 million ($20m) on one regulated gambling website alone and millions more on illegal markets in India.

It emerged last week, in leaked testimony to an ICC probe, that Vincent told investigators he was approached by his fixer "NG" the day before the match in a hotel in Brighton and that he received £40,000 to throw the game.

- ECB 're-open' case -

The Telegraph added there were suspicions at the time the match was corrupt but it was cleared by the ICC's much-criticised anti-corruption and security unit, under fire for its failure to bring to book a major fixer, following an investigation.

But the paper added the case was reopened in August 2012 by the ECB's own unit, led by former Metropolitan Police detective Watts.

The 32 year-old Arif was born in Pakistan and qualified as a non-overseas player for Sussex through his wife's Danish passport. He was released by Sussex in 2012.

There is no suggestion any other player from either team was involved in the alleged fix.

Sussex were cruising to victory despite Arif's expensive bowling.

He took the new ball but only bowled six overs and conceded 41 runs with two wides, an economy rate of 6.83.

In reply, Sussex looked set for a win at 76 for no wicket, chasing a target of 217.

But they lost four wickets for seven runs in four overs including that of Vincent who, batting at three, was run out for one off six balls.

Arif batted at nine and scored 11 off 29 balls as Sussex were bowled out for 202 to lose by 14 runs.

Arif was dropped for the next match against Middlesex and played only three more one day matches for Sussex before being released.

The controversial Lord's Test of 2011 led to three Pakistan players -- Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer -- being banned and jailed for their roles in a spot-fixing scam.

Meanwhile former Essex paceman Mervyn Westfield was also jailed for his role in spot-fixing, where an incident during the match rather than the result of a game is manipulated for a betting scam, during a county match that led to a life ban for former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.

However whether Vincent, who is now in Auckland, and Arif, reported to be living in the north of England, will face criminal charges will depend upon whether British prosecutors decide if such action is the best use of taxpayers' money.

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