Sri Lanka T20 team owner arrested for graft allegations

Published May 23, 2024
Tamim Rahman (C), a foreign owner of Dambulla Thunders team in Sri Lanka’s Premier League (LPL), is being escorted to prison after his arrest in Colombo on May 22, 2024. — AFP
Tamim Rahman (C), a foreign owner of Dambulla Thunders team in Sri Lanka’s Premier League (LPL), is being escorted to prison after his arrest in Colombo on May 22, 2024. — AFP

COLOMBO: The foreign owner of a T20 cricket team in Sri Lanka’s Premier League (LPL) was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of corruption, police said, a day after a highly publicised player auction.

Tamim Rahman, owner of Dambulla Thunders and a British national, was stopped at the airport in Colombo before he boarded a flight to Dubai, police said.

He was arrested following a court order to detain him on suspicion of match-fixing, police and immigration officials told AFP.

Rahman was remanded in custody until May 31 pending further investigations.

He was being investigated under two provisions of the sports Act related to match-fixing and attempting to organise betting.

A special police unit dealing with corruption in sports carried out the arrest, the first involving an official of the LPL tournament since it began four years ago.

Those convicted under the sports Act face potential heavy fines and jail sentences of up to 10 years.

On Tuesday, Rahman’s Dam­bulla team spent $450,000 to buy 24 players, including the most expen­sive foreign player, Afghani­stan’s all-rounder Karim Janat for $80,000.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the tournament said they terminated the rights of the Dambulla Thunders following the implication of its owner in corruption.

“This termination/retraction of rights aims to uphold the values and reputation of the LPL, ensuring that all participants adhere to the highest standards of conduct and sportsmanship,” the LPL rights holder IPG Group said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if the five-team tournament would be reduced to four or if there would be a replacement of Dambulla Thunders. The LPL tournament will start on July 1 with the final on July 21.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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