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Cricket Council Investigates Corruption Claims Against Umpires

The International Cricket Council said it has begun “urgent investigations” into allegations of corruption made against umpires from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh by an Indian television channel.

Footage broadcast on India TV last night and shown on the channel’s website alleged that the six umpires, including one from the ICC’s international panel, were willing to give favors during Twenty20 matches in exchange for money.

During the sting operation, which was conducted in July, August and September, undercover reporters claimed to belong to a sports management company. Cricket’s governing body called on the broadcaster to hand over any information that could help its investigation.

“The ICC reiterates its zero-tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials,” the Dubai-based council said in a statement. “The ICC confirms that none of the umpires named were involved in any of the official games of the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.”

That tournament, the fourth world championship in the sport’s shortest format, concluded two days ago when West Indies beat host Sri Lanka in the final.

None of the umpires involved in the sting have been on the ICC’s so-called Elite Panel, which reports directly to the governing body. Umpires on the international panel are under the jurisdiction and control of their national cricket boards.

The same channel broadcast a similar sting earlier this year, which alleged spot-fixing by five Indian players in domestic Twenty20 matches. That resulted in suspensions for those involved.

Last year, Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in the U.K. after being convicted of taking bribes to cheat in an elite five-day Test match against England at Lord’s in August 2010. That followed an undercover sting by defunct U.K. tabloid the News of the World.

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