The Anti-Corruption Unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India asked Mohali police to investigate fantasy sports platform Dream11’s links to the fake T20 tournament that was recently busted, reported The Indian Express.
The ACU also asked Mohali police who are investigating this matter to look into the role of FanCode, a streaming website that broadcast the competition. Both Dream11 and FanCode are part of Dream Sports, a sports tech company.
“There is also a chance that Dream11 may be linked. We think the kits used might have been from a previous Dream11 tournament,” the ACU said in a communication to Mohali police that was accessed by the newspaper.
“All of the kits had ‘Dream11’ on the back – there is clearly a chance that these could have been forged, but two sides had tape covering up the Dream11 sign. This is strange: if someone was forging it and didn’t want two sides to have it displayed then arguably, they wouldn’t print in the first place.
“With regard to FanCode, we would also question their involvement as it should not be easy to persuade them to stream a tournament like this,” the letter said.
FanCode responded by making themselves available for any kind of investigation and suggested they were an “aggrieved party”.
“We are an aggrieved party in this whole incident of Uva Premier League T20, as it has transpired that the documents submitted by the organisers during our due diligence process were forged/fabricated. The organisers had provided us with a Letter of Sanction from the Uva Province Cricket Association along with an email from the official email ID of SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket) that provided confirmation of the tournament,” FanCode said in a statement on their website.
“After Day 1 of the tournament, where FanCode streamed two matches, the legal team of SLC reached out to us and informed us that the matches are not approved by them. We immediately stopped streaming these matches on our platform. We are closely working with the Anti-Corruption Unit of SLC and have provided all the documents/ evidence and details available with us, which may be useful for the investigation. We will be more than happy to provide information/ evidence/ documents to any and all investigating agencies working on the matter,” the statement added.
The Uva T20 league was a sham cricket tournament that was held in India and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka.
Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on some sports websites.
The organisers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway.
Police said they raided the venue in northern India’s Sawara village – thousands of kilometres (miles) from Sri Lanka – after receiving a tip-off that the matches were being used for betting.
They added that two people were arrested on charges of fraud and gambling – which is mostly illegal in India. The organisers and players are being sought.
“They pretended to be Sri Lankan teams, playing in Sri Lanka with the motive of online betting,” Mohali police chief Kuldeep Singh Chahal had told AFP.
Leading Indian sports websites had announced that the “Uva T20 league” was organised by the Uva cricket association at a stadium in Sri Lanka’s southern Badulla city.
They said former Sri Lankan internationals would take part and that it would include four teams and 14 games between July 29 and July 5.
But the Uva T20 league does not exist and Sri Lanka Cricket denied hosting it, adding no tournament of that name was organised in the island nation.
One of the players advertised as playing in the event, former Sri Lanka international Farveez Maharoof, tweeted that the tournament was “fake”.
The owners of the village venue in India, Strokers Cricket Association, said the organisers told them they were playing a domestic tournament over nearly about days, but without spectators because of the coronavirus.
“We don’t know who was organising this match. Even we were not allowed inside. They had blocked the view with tents around the ground,” an official from the Association told The Indian Express.
It was unclear how many people watched the event online or how much money was put on the matches.
(With inputs from AFP)
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