Champions League games probed for fixing

Cricket's lucrative Champions League has been dragged into the potentially explosive fixing case shaped by the testimony of former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White confirmed on Thursday that some matches played by the Auckland Aces at the global Twenty20 tournament, when it was held in South Africa in 2012, were under investigation by the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit.

Cricket Australia's own anti-corruption detectives have been assured that no Australian players, teams or matches are being investigated.

But the scandal has widespread implications for world cricket because it involves allegations of spot-fixing in at least five countries between 2008 and 2012. Cricket Australia has a financial stake of 30 per cent in the Champions League, which is 50 per cent-owned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India while South Africa has a 20 per cent share. Australian Big Bash teams aspire to qualify and compete for a slice of the $US6 million prize pool.

"No games played in New Zealand are being investigated by the ICC. No current Black Caps are being investigated," White said after The Telegraph in London reported that Vincent had provided ICC detectives with a "treasure trove" of information – including names –  with which to build their case.

"No matches involving New Zealand national teams are being investigated, however we have been informed by the ICC that some Auckland Aces matches in the Champions League in [South Africa] in 2012 are being investigated."

Vincent, who has blown the whistle in the hope of avoiding criminal prosecution over his involvement and knowledge, opened the batting for Auckland Aces against Perth Scorchers at Centurion in 2012, but it's believed that game does not figure in the investigation.

While CA has no reason to believe any of its players are under scrutiny, its surveillance team remains on high alert after an explosion in betting on the Big Bash League last summer.

The head of CA's integrity unit, Iain Roy, and security manager Sean Carroll, a former Victorian police detective, this week attended a Victoria Police conference at the MCG about the infiltration and corruption of sport by organised crime.

The Telegraph report said charges were imminent against one former Pakistan player, and that a current international captain was approached by a corrupt player, but he rejected the advance and reported it to authorities.

The probe based on evidence from Vincent is not the only corruption scandal simmering in cricket.

The fallout from the betting and spot-fixing controversy in last year's Indian Premier League, which resulted in the arrest of three Indian players from the Rajasthan Royals, is being played out in the Indian Supreme Court.

The court has stood down the BCCI's powerful president, N. Srinivasan, whose family is embroiled in the saga. Embarrassingly, Srinivasan is the man backed by Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board to become chairman of the ICC at next month's annual conference in Melbourne.

In Australia, CA boss James Sutherland in March welcomed the introduction of laws in Queensland and NSW to fight match-fixing and regulate betting, respectively, bringing them into line with other states.

"A harmonised approach will avoid situations in which match-fixers and their associates are dealt with differently by the law depending on where in Australia offences are committed," said Sutherland, who also chairs the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports.

More than $625 million was punted on the BBL with Betfair alone last summer. In January, a man was investigated for illegal betting after attending a BBL game in Melbourne and a one-day international in Sydney. He had a laptop computer and his conduct raised concerns that betting markets could be manipulated if information was conveyed to overseas bookmakers from venues, beating the delay from live play to television broadcasts.

CA restricts access to players at grounds, and players have to hand over phones and tablets before games. It also has information-sharing agreements with every corporate betting agency in Australia, and has engaged a company to monitor the nature and volume of betting on domestic matches.

This story Champions League games probed for fixing first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.