Alviro Petersen, the former South Africa opener, has been banned for two years by CSA after admitting to 13 breaches of the anti-corruption code in relation to the 2015-16 domestic T20 match-fixing scandal.
Among Petersen’s transgressions are four counts of failing to disclose details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct; four of failing to disclose evidence of another participant breaching the code; four of failing to cooperate with the investigators by not providing accurate and complete information; and one of concealing and destroying information relevant to the investigation. CSA has withdrawn charges relating to fixing or contriving to fix any matches and accepting or offering any bribes.
Petersen apologised for his actions and vowed he had no intention of fixing matches. “I would like to apologise to my family, friends, the public who are fans of the game of cricket, my team mates, Gauteng cricket, Lions cricket and especially to Cricket South Africa for my actions. At the time that the meetings with Bodi and the fixers happened, I never had any intention of fixing matches or taking money,” he said.
“I now deeply regret having participated in these meetings and not to have immediately reported them to the authorities as I am obliged to do. I understand that I need to take personal responsibility for my actions and I accept the punishment that CSA has imposed on me. I hope that other players will learn from my experience and be better prepared if they find themselves in the situation that I was in, and that my punishment will serve as a deterrent. I also want to thank my family, friends and my legal team for their unwavering support and guidance during the last few months.”
Petersen is the sixth player and third international to be sanctioned after Gulam Bodi, Thami Tsolekile, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumi Matshikwe and Jean Symes were banned for between seven and 20 years for their roles in the saga. The investigation remains ongoing.
Petersen’s ban prevents him from being involved in any capacity for any international or domestic match, or having any other kind of function in cricket organised by CSA, the ICC or any other national federation. Most recently, Petersen has played for South African franchise Lions, for Lancashire in county cricket, was employed as a commentator for the public broadcaster, SABC, and ran a charitable foundation. He will be unable to do any of the first three of those until November 12, 2018, two years from the date he was charged.
Petersen was formally charged after rejecting a plea bargain from CSA and gearing up to play for Lions in the domestic T20. He issued a statement through his lawyer, Robin Twaddle, in which he admitted to “playing along” with those involved in the scandal but denied any wrongdoing. Petersen claimed the ACSU was aware of his discussions and meeting with the players.
Although Petersen’s exact involvement has not been disclosed, CSA indicated his most serious breach was not reporting approaches in full.
“He is obliged under the code to have disclosed various approaches that were made to him to engage in corrupt activities,” Haroon Lorgat, CSA CEO, said in a statement. “While having provided certain information to the investigators he had also withheld and concealed certain material information, such as the meetings with Bodi and certain fixers.”
CSA has confirmed that Bodi acted as the intermediary for international betting syndicates and approached certain players “with a view engaging in fixing activities”, according to the statement. CSA has maintained no actual fixing was carried out in the 2015-16 Ram Slam.
However, it has not been able to declare its inquiry complete. Petersen, in his statement after the charges were made public, said he knew of at least one other player who had not been charged. The independent chairperson of CSA’s ACU, Bernard Ngoepe, a former judge, said the body will continue working to conclude the matter. “We are still finalising certain aspects of the investigation and we will not stop until we are fully satisfied that we have exhausted every lead and scrutinised every aspect relating to this matter. As we have stated previously, any form of corruption in the game will be dealt with severely. We will leave no stone unturned in this investigation.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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