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Match-fixing allegations rock New Zealand cricket

By Tim Hume, CNN
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT)
Former New Zealand test batsman Lou Vincent says he is cooperating with the ICC investigation.
Former New Zealand test batsman Lou Vincent says he is cooperating with the ICC investigation.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • International Cricket Council says it is investigating former New Zealand players
  • Former batsman Lou Vincent say he is involved in match-fixing investigation
  • Chris Cairns is seeking clarification from ICC as to whether he is under investigation

Hong Kong (CNN) -- New Zealand sport has been rocked by allegations that three former national cricketers are under investigation for alleged match-fixing, according to reports.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the game's governing body, said in a statement that a small number of former New Zealand representatives were under investigation by the anti-corruption unit for alleged involvement in "fixing activity in historic cricket matches."

It did not identify those under investigation, but after New Zealand media named those alleged to be implicated, two of the players made statements regarding the investigation.

Former test batsman Lou Vincent confirmed he was involved, but said the ongoing investigation made him unable to comment further.

"I wish to let everyone know that I am cooperating with an ongoing ICC anti-corruption investigation that has been made public today," said Vincent, who played his last game for New Zealand in 2007.

"This investigation is bound by a number of rules and regulations that mean I am unable to make any further public comment. I will personally talk to the public when I am able to."

Former all-rounder Chris Cairns, also named in media reports as one of the players involved, told reporters he was unaware of any investigation and had not been contacted by authorities in relation to the matter.

Cairns, who played his last game for New Zealand in 2006, had been acting as a television commentator for New Zealand's test match against the West Indies in Dunedin, but left the coverage amid the controversy.

Another former player claimed in media reports to be the third individual involved made no public comment.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White told reporters the organization had been aware of this investigation for a number of months and was "shocked and surprised by the allegations."

"We support the ICC's investigation as corruption has no place in our sport. No current New Zealand players are being investigated. No games played in New Zealand are being investigated. Lastly, no matches under New Zealand Cricket's jurisdiction are being investigated."

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told reporters it would be "very, very serious'' if the allegations were proven.

"New Zealand is a country that sees itself as a very above board, honest place both to do business and to play sport, so it would be deeply concerning if this was factually correct."

The country regularly ranks as one of the world's least corrupt, recently topping Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index alongside Denmark.

Cairns has previously challenged match-fixing allegations in the courts, and won.

Last year, he sued Indian cricket official and businessman Lalit Modi in a British Court, after Modi had tweeted allegations of match-fixing relating to Cairns' stint with the Chandigarh Lions in the short-lived Indian Cricket League.

Cairns captained the side in 2007 and 2008, playing alongside Vincent in 2008. Modi, who ran the rival Indian Premier League competition, lost his appeal against the court's decision in October 2012, with damages increased to £90,000 ($147,459).

International cricket has been plagued by the specter of match-fixing in recent years. Players from countries including Pakistan, India, the West Indies and South Africa -- including the late former captain Hansie Cronje -- have been issued punishments ranging up to life bans for under-performance, bribe-taking or passing information to bookmakers.

In August, seven were charged in Bangladesh with match-fixing; former national captain Mohammad Ashraful had previously confessed to fixing matches.

And in October, six international umpires were stood down following an India TV expose which alleged officials were willing to fix matches at the recent T20 World Cup in exchange for payment.

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