The International Cricket Council (ICC) says there is no evidence the third Ashes Test has been "corrupted" after claims emerged in a British newspaper that bookmakers had offered to fix parts of the match. The Sun newspaper published purported evidence of bookmakers offering to sell details of rigged periods of play for betting purposes, or so-called spot-fixing, in the Test match between Australia and England started Thursday in Perth.
ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall has launched an investigation.
"From my initial assessment of the material, there is no evidence, either from The Sun or via our own intelligence, to suggest the current Test match has been corrupted," Marshall said in a statement. "At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that any players in this Test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.
"The allegations are wide-ranging and relate to various forms cricket in several countries, including T20 tournaments. We will look closely at all the information as part of our investigation."
Both Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board offered to cooperate with the ICC's investigation.
The Sun said it conducted a four-month investigation, with interviews conducted at hotels in New Delhi and Dubai with two men claiming to be involved in illegal gambling.
"Before the match, I will tell you this over, this runs and then you have to put all the bets on that over," a man says in the Sun's undercover video footage.
During the video, information on fixes is estimated to be worth around $150,000.
There is also mention of fixing "four to five" Big Bash League matches in the Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he had spoken with Marshall about the allegations, and wondered why the story was published on the day the third Test was set to begin.
"There's no substance to these allegations or justification to suspect that this test match or indeed the Ashes series as a whole is subject to corrupt activities," Sutherland told a news conference at the WACA.
"My comments today are based on a briefing I've had from Alex Marshall and I don't think for one moment anyone should believe that we're complacent. The timing is a bit strange, obviously, but I guess I'll leave that to Alex to make judgments on what the reason behind this might be."
The ECB said it was "aware of these allegations and there is no suggestion that any of the England team is involved in any way."
Australia leads the five-match series 2-0 after victories in Brisbane and Adelaide and can regain the Ashes with a victory at the WACA, a venue where England's only Test victory was in 1978.
(With AP Inputs)