Big fix: Mark to face investigators next month

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: Australian batsman Mark Waugh will be interviewed by investigators next month over his alleged implication in cricket's betting and match-fixing scandal, Australian cricket officials said on Tuesday.Anti-corruption investigators from the International Cricket Council (ICC) will arrive in Australia in early February to interview the Australian batting star, Australian Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Malcolm Speed said.Waugh has allegedly been linked to Indian bookmaker M K Gupta, who has in turn been implicated in rampant betting and match-fixing among cricket's elite international players, particularly in the sub-continent.The highest profile scalp claimed so far by the ongoing scandal is South African captain Hansie Cronje.Speed said lawyers retained by Waugh since the controversy erupted almost two years ago have been contacted with a request that their client co-operate with investigators.The ICC investigators will be joined by an ACB representative, Greg Melick, when they interview Waugh, Speed said. "It is my intention to interview Mark Waugh in February in relation to allegations made by M K Gupta," Melick said."I don't think you can have these allegations made without giving Mark Waugh the chance to give his side of events." Melick told reporters during a briefing that other Australian players may be interviewed as potential witnesses to corrupt practices that have shaken the game to its core.Speed told reporters he had also informed Waugh previously that investigators would seek to speak to him at some stage.However, the ACB chief executive was adamant there was a "presumption of innocence" until any concrete evidence was established against the player, whose brother Steve is the current captain of the Australian side.Former senior British policeman Sir Paul Condon will also be in Australia at the time the interview is conducted. However, Melick said he thought it unlikely Condon would take part in the interrogation.Melick declined to outline the specific allegations made against Waugh, although he confirmed he had recently returned from India, where he had conducted a number of interviews with key players in the saga.However, aside from formal meetings with Indian cricket officials, he refused to identify anyone else he interviewed.Copyright AFP 2000

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