Cape Town - The four South African cricketers banned for match fixing have accepted their punishments and expressed regret.
The quartet who have admitted contraventions of the code were identified by Cricket South Africa (CSA) as Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe and Thami Tsolekile.
Their bans came into effect from August 1, 2016.
The banning of these four players follows lengthy investigations and the previous imposition by CSA in January 2016 of a 20-year ban on former Proteas, Lions and Titans player Gulam Bodi after Bodi had admitted charges of contriving or attempting to fix matches in the 2015 RAM SLAM T20 Challenge Series. Bodi acted as an intermediary for international betting syndicates, approaching certain players with a view to engaging in fixing activities during the competition.
Matshikwe, a bowler formerly contracted to the Lions and banned for 10 years (three of the 10 years suspended) years, commented: “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. I feel ashamed and I deeply regret being involved. I understand that I have to take responsibility and I accept the punishment that CSA has imposed on me. I am truly sorry.”
Mbhalati, a bowler formerly contracted to the Titans and also banned for 10 years, endorsed Matshikwe’s comments: “I would like to extend my sincere apology to both Cricket South Africa as well as the public for my involvement in this. I made a bad mistake which I will regret for a very long time. I would like to do all I can to prevent other players finding themselves in the difficult situation I now find myself in.”
Symes, an all-rounder formerly contracted to the Lions and banned for seven years, likewise expressed his regret: “I deeply regret that at the end of my career, a career that I have devoted to the sport of cricket, my clubs, teams and fellow players, I have conducted myself in a manner that amounts to a contravention of the ethical code of conduct of Cricket South Africa. In hindsight, I would have conducted myself differently. I regret any hurt or inconvenience that I have caused my team, my fellow players, my family and friends and specifically Cricket South Africa,” said Symes.
Tsolekile, a former Proteas wicketkeeper and former Lions captain, received a ban of 12 years for contriving to fix a match or matches in the 2015 RAM SLAM; failing to disclose to the CSA Anti-Corruption Officer the full details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct; failing to disclose full details of matters evidencing a breach of the code by another participant; and obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence that was relevant to the investigation.
The bans in terms of CSA’s Anti-Corruption Code prevent the players from participating in, or being involved in any capacity in, any international or domestic match or any other kind of function, event or activity (other than authorised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programmes) that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by CSA, the ICC, a National Cricket Federation or any member of a National Cricket Federation.