Two arrested at MSL match over suspected involvement in ‘betting activity’

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5:46 AM ET

Two men were arrested at Kingsmead in Durban on Friday, during the Mzansi Super League (MSL) match between Durban Heat and Jozi Stars, amid concerns about their possible involvement with “betting activity”. They were released on bail after being charged with trespassing.

The two British citizens were reportedly watching the match from a hospitality suite at the ground when the arrests happened. This is the second such incident at an MSL game, after organisers confirmed that two other men were arrested at the beginning of the tournament, during Paarl Rocks’ home game against Tshwane Spartans at Boland Park on November 18.

CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe suggested that MSL organisers were closely monitoring instances of spectators at grounds relaying live information to assist gambling operations – a practice known as “court-siding”. He said anti-corruption protocols had been enhanced during the MSL and also called on fans attending games to be vigilant and to report any betting-related activities.

“The protocols included the sighting of any person deemed to be engaging in betting activities or the facilitation of betting activities within stadiums,” Moroe said. “Such persons will be removed from the stadium and face possible arrest.

“With the use of enhanced technology, match-fixers are using people posing as fans in the stadium to relay live data to illegal betting houses functioning abroad. To prevent such activities, we have strengthened our in-stadium monitoring and protection capabilities, including the active surveillance of crowd activities.

“Cricket-loving fans will recognise the risk that corrupt activities present to the game. We call on all fans to assist us in reporting any ‘live’ betting-related activities from any viewing areas within the stadium so that these can be monitored and addressed.”

The pair arrested in Durban had allegedly already been banned by CSA from attending any fixtures. The two, said to be businessmen aged 34 and 35, were taken to Durban Central police station after their arrest and charged with trespassing, and subsequently released on R500 (USD35) bail each. They are being represented by attorney Roy Singh.

“If my clients were banned by CSA, why did they sell tickets to them?” Singh was quoted as saying by IOL. “While in the suite, security officials pounced on them and questioned them about their attendance, as they said they were banned. They were also interrogated by CSA officials about sports betting and match-fixing.

“At the police station, I was able to show the officers that there was no evidence in their possession to prove that my clients were involved with match-fixing or sports betting and I asked for them to be released.

“My clients believe the authorities acted on hearsay evidence that they were involved with sports betting and match-fixing, which eventually led to their arrest. Therefore, they’ve asked me to pursue the matter with the high court.”

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