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ICC ends probe into Ashes spot-fixing claims

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has today (Thursday) closed an investigation into allegations of corruption concerning an Ashes Test match between Australia and England last year, stating there is “no evidence” to suggest any wrongdoing took place.

The matter hit the headlines in December when UK newspaper The Sun reported alleged plans to fix part of the third Ashes Test, which took place in Perth from December 14-18. The Sun reported details of an alleged ‘spot-fixing’ scheme by publishing secret recordings of two men claiming they had someone in the Australian camp who was able to help arrange spot-fixing incidents in the Test.

At the time, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that he had spoken with the ICC’s general manager for anti-corruption, Alex Marshall, on the matter stating there was “no evidence” that players from either side were involved.

In a statement today, Marshall said: “We have carried out an extensive global investigation with anti-corruption colleagues from member countries based on the allegations in The Sun and the material they shared with us.

“I am satisfied that there is no evidence to suggest any match has been corrupted by the individuals in the investigation nor is there any indication that any international players, administrators or coaches have been in contact with the alleged fixers.”

Sutherland said that the timing of the report – on the morning of the first day of a potentially decisive Test match – was “a bit strange”. The Sun, whose reporters posed as financiers for illegal London bookmakers, also reported that the individuals mentioned “four to five” matches in Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition the Big Bash League.

The spectre of spot-fixing has been a difficult one for cricket to deal with. A spate of cases have hit T20 leagues in recent years. Incidents surrounding the 2013 Indian Premier League, 2017 Pakistan Super League and South Africa’s 2015 T20 Challenge Series have all led to serious sanctions for those involved.