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England, Australia boards dismiss spot-fixing allegations

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England, Australia boards dismiss spot-fixing allegations

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LONDON (Reuters) - Allegations of spot-fixing by English cricketers have been dismissed by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Integrity Team and Cricket Australia.

The Al Jazeera television network said it had uncovered evidence of corruption in international cricket, including "a small group" of England players in seven matches between 2010 and 2012.

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Unnamed Australia and Pakistan players were also accused by the broadcaster in a documentary broadcast on Sunday.

"Whilst the limited information we have been given by Al Jazeera is poorly prepared and lacks clarity and corroboration, it has been properly assessed," the ECB said in a statement.

"Analysis of this by the ECB Integrity Team has cast no doubt on the integrity or behaviour of any England player, current or former.

"The ECB takes its responsibilities on anti-corruption and preserving the integrity of cricket very seriously.

"The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC's Anti-Corruption unit and we will continue to work with them, as is the correct procedure for protecting the game."

Spot-fixing occurs when players agree to manipulate part of a match by, for example, bowling a wide on a particular delivery or ensuring a particular run rate.

The corruption does not usually affect the overall outcome of the match but gamblers in the know can use the information to beat the betting market.

Cricket Australia's outgoing chief executive James Sutherland said it took "a zero-tolerance approach" to any attempts to compromise the integrity of the game.

The CA integrity unit had reviewed the claims, he added in a statement.

"Our team have not identified any issues of corruption by any current or former player," he said.

"The materials we have been given have been referred to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit and we will continue to work with them in order to ensure the integrity of the game.

"We urge Al Jazeera to provide all un-edited materials and any other evidence to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit."

The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) were even more forthright, with their chief executive Alistair Nicholson saying players had had enough of "unsupported accusations".

"The players are sick and tired of being subject to accusations without the proper evidence to substantiate it," he added.

The International Cricket Council has previously hit out at Al Jazeera for failing to share unedited footage from their investigations into corruption in cricket.

"We will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully," said Alex Marshall, the general manager of the global governing body's anti-corruption unit.

"The investigation into these allegations has already commenced and will run alongside a number of other live unrelated investigations. When considering the claims, we will work with professional independent betting analysts.

"As with the first programme we have, and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster."

(Reporting by Steve Tongue and Nick Mulvenney; editing by Clare Lovell and Peter Rutherford)

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