Wednesday, September 06, 2023
Sachithra Senanayake, a former Sri Lankan spin bowler, was arrested by police on Wednesday for match-fixing, becoming the first person to be prosecuted under a 2019 law that makes match-fixing a criminal offence in Sri Lanka.
Senanayake, 38, was taken into custody by a police unit investigating sports-related crimes. He is accused of influencing two players to fix matches in the 2020 Lanka Premier League (LPL).
If convicted, Senanayake could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to SLR100 million ($309,000).
The arrest comes as Sri Lanka has been trying to crack down on match-fixing. The country's former sports minister, Harin Fernando, introduced the tough new law after saying the International Cricket Council (ICC) considered Sri Lanka one of the most corrupt cricket nations.
Another former sports minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, told parliament in 2021 that match-fixing was rife in the country.
Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga in 2012 urged fans to boycott matches in protest against what he called "mismanagement, corruption and indiscipline" in the national team.
The arrest of Senanayake is a major development in Sri Lanka's efforts to combat match-fixing. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to deter other players from engaging in corrupt practices.