Even spectators can be match-fixers

Spotting a suspicious spectator in these type of jovial settings is not as easy as it seems.  Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Spotting a suspicious spectator in these type of jovial settings is not as easy as it seems. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

Yet spotting them is not the easiest thing to do.

As Cricket South Africa (CSA) continue to try and conclude domestic cricket’s longstanding match-fixing saga, it’s become apparent that it’s not only players that are getting caught.

Spectators are now also being watched far more closely.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Police Tuesday had to remove a man from the Canberra Oval – where Australia and New Zealand were playing the second of three one-day internationals – on suspicion of unregulated gambling.

He was allegedly sending live information on his cellphone to a foreign bookmaker for the purpose of live in-game betting.

This practice is known as “pitchsiding”, where betters try to take advantage of the 5-10 second delay in the broadcasting of a game.

That means, for example, a bookmaker can make a handsome profit on a wicket falling or a six being hit “before” it actually happened.

All regulated betting sites are not allowed to offer in-play betting and also compensate for the delay in broadcasts by installing a time-delay on bets on their platforms.

Any person then sending live information to a bookmaker is doing so on a unregulated platform.

“Pitchsiding” is not illegal, which is a problem because it undermines the anti-corruption codes developed by local cricket governing bodies.

Cricket Australia though have made it a breach of their terms and conditions for entry to a game.

The man was questioned by more than a dozen police officers during the innings break of the match and then had to leave the ground.

“Pitchsiding” occurred during last season’s tainted domestic T20 campaign too.

A man sitting in the stand during the Highveld Lions and Titans’ match in Potchefstroom was eventually removed from the ground after it became apparent he was making sizeable bets on a platform that is illegal in South Africa.

CSA has sent out an advisory just before that game about an international syndicate trying to improperly influence domestic cricket.

Former Proteas batsman Gulam Bodi and four other prominent players were eventually banned for their involvement.

Detecting individuals engaged in “pitchsiding” is difficult but authorities generally look out for people wearing earphones or constantly sending messages hurriedly.




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