Single match worth billion-dollar bet: Botham

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2001, 20:33 [IST]
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London: England cricketing legend Ian Botham claimed on Sunday as much as $ 1 billion has been bet on the outcome of a single match. Botham added that what match-fixing had been uncovered so far by the ongoing inquiry under the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-graft chief Paul Condon was just the tip of the iceberg. The former England all-rounder's allegations will be aired on Sunday in a BBC documentary. "First of all I think we've just touched the tip of the iceberg," Botham told the 'News of the World'. "It's not just the players that are involved, it's a much wider network. "I've heard of figures as much as $ 1 billion changing hands in a Test, one Test result, so to offer someone $ 50,000 is small fry." Botham's comments come a day after 'The Times' newspaper said Condon's probe will report next week that matches in cricket are still being rigged. The paper said matches played by Pakistan and New Zealand in the Gulf state of Sharjah and by Pakistan in New Zealand this year have come under severe scrutiny. Allegations of match rigging in Pakistan's One-day series against the New Zealanders surfaced following the tour. "The report will suggest that despite the banning from the game for life of prominent international cricketers and stringent new constraints, attempts to rig results for money may not have been wiped out," 'The Times' reported. Condon, a former chief of London's police force, was saddled with the task of rooting out graft in cricket following the explosion of the "Cronje-gate" match rigging scandal last year. World cricket was rocked after police in New Delhi accidentally intercepted a mobile phone call where, South African captain Hansie Cronje discussed taking bribes to throw a game. Cronje, Pakistan ace Salim Malik and Indian Test legend Mohammad Azharuddin were subsequently banned for life. AFP

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