Afghanistan Premier League postpones start of second season due to missed payment and ‘integrity risk’

Mohammad Shahzad, the Afghanistan wicket keeper who reported being approached by spot-fixers during last season's Afghanistan Premier League (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has postponed the start of the second season of its Afghanistan Premier League T20 cricket competition due to missing payments from the league’s commercial partner, Snixer Sports, as well as concerns about the integrity of some of those involved. 

The ACB has moved to terminate the agreement with Snixer and will reissue a tender for the commercial rights in the coming weeks. The second edition of the APL was scheduled to begin in October, but no new date has yet been announced. 

 The ACB released a statement reading: “The failure by Snixer Sports to pay the complete rights fees of the first edition as per the fees and payment schedule of the agreement, and concerns about risks for integrity of the league posed by people connected to Snixer Sports are the reasons for termination that form material breaches of the agreement.”

The allegations about integrity will come as a particular concern to both the ACB and the International Cricket Council. The league’s first edition was watched closely by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit, particularly after Afghanistan wicket keeper Mohammad Shahzad reported that he had been approached to under-perform in matches as part of a spot-fixing attempt. Further players are also believed to have anonymously reported approaches to the ACU. 

The ACB has now written to the Attorney General’s Office of the Government of Afghanistan, asking it to “fully investigate the administrative allegations of corruption in the league” and that it remained committed to “ensuring transparency in all its affairs and is accountable to all stakeholders”.

The tournament is operated by the ACB and its teams are named for cities in Afghanistan, but matches themselves are held in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.