Cricketer, agent lose appeal in fixing scandal

Cricketer Mervyn Westfield. (Getty)

Cricketer Mervyn Westfield. (Getty)

An appeals court has upheld the convictions of a disgraced cricketer and an agent who were jailed for separate incidents of match fixing.

Agent Mazhar Majeed was sentenced to two years and eight months last year for conspiring with players to bowl no balls at predetermined times during the fourth test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s in August 2010. Player Mervyn Westfield pleaded guilty to fixing in a separate case. He was jailed for four months.

A three-judge panel rejected both men’s appeal during the proceedings in London’s Court of Appeal.

Justice Igor Judge explained the decision to uphold the men’s convictions, saying “the respective offences of conspiracy against Majeed and cheating against Westfield were properly prosecuted.”

He said the rejection of their appeals will help rid cricket of corruption.

“Cricket is widely televised, not only in the country where the match is being played, but throughout the cricket-playing world,” the judge said. “The prizes for successful gambling can be very great and the scope for corruption is therefore considerable.

“For the health, indeed the survival of the game as a truly competitive sport, it must be eradicated.”

The Pakistani match-fixing case was the biggest scandal in cricket since South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was banned for life in 2000 for taking bribes from bookmakers.

Majeed was recorded by an undercover reporter working for the now-defunct News of the World tabloid saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets by bowling three no balls at prearranged times.

Majeed was secretly filmed accepting $242 000 in cash from the journalist. – Sapa-AP

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