Indian premier cricket league has suspended five of its players for fifteen days for allegedly fixing cricket matches. The controversy has recently been uncovered by an Indian TV channel.
On Tuesday, the Indian Premier League's (IPL) governing council asked Ravi Sawanti, head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) anti-corruption unit, to conduct an inquiry into spot-fixing allegations against its players.
Spot-fixing is a term used for deliberately losing a match for money. A number of cricketers have recently been found guilty of fixing matches, including three of Pakistan's international cricketers.
The recent spot-fixing controversy was highlighted by an Indian TV channel, which showed a number of domestic cricketers confessing to match-fixing and claiming that the IPL paid them money. Reacting to the TV footage, the IPL referred the allegations to the BCCI.
"A challenge as well as an opportunity"
N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said the Board would probe the allegations to "ensure the integrity of the game."
"If there is any truth in it, we will take the strictest action, even if it means suspending the players immediately," warned Srinivasan, who also owns one of the nine IPL teams called the Chennai Super Kings.
Ajay Maken, the Indian ministers for sports, also took up the issue in parliament, asking the BCCI to look into the matter and resolve it as soon as possible.
"It is a challenge as well as an opportunity for the BCCI," said Maken, implying that it would help BCCI eradicate the menace of match-fixing from the country.
Prone to financial corruption
Corruption charges against the IPL are not new. The wealthy cricket league kicked off in 2008 with a massive promotion in the Indian media. A number of Indian movie stars and business tycoons own teams in the IPL. The success of its first edition resulted into a significant expansion of the tournament and the IPL now has teams with the best cricketers from the world.
"The IPL is at the mercy of the highest risk of corruption. This is clearly a wake-up call," sports writer Shantanu Guha Ray told DW.
Financially, the IPL has been a phenomenal success, contributing over one billion US dollars to the coffers of the BCCI. It pays a whopping amount to the players participating in the event. The Board earns money through its sponsors, broadcasting rights, internet and mobile rights, and various other means.
K. Madhavan, former joint director of the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation, said that the fact that so much money was involved in the IPL made it immensely attractive for bookies.
Author: Murali Krishnan
Editor: Shamil Shams