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ICC bans Oman player for 7 years for attempt at match fixing

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Omani cricketer has been banned for seven years after admitting to corruption charges relating to qualifiers for the men's Twenty20 World Cup. The International Cricket Council announced Monday that Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi had accepted four charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code, including an attempt to solicit another player for match fixing, failing to report illegal match fixing approaches from three people and trying to obstruct an investigation by deleting evidence from his telephone.

The ICC said the charges all related to the T20 qualifiers held in the United Arab Emirates last year. “This is a very serious offense where a player attempted but failed to get a teammate to engage in corrupt activity in high-profile games and this is reflected in the severity of the sentence," Alex Marshall, the ICC"s general manager for integrity, said. “Without Mr. Balushi’s admission of guilt and full cooperation throughout our investigation, the ban could have been significantly longer.”

The maximum penalty under the code is a life ban from all involvement in cricket, including playing, coaching or officiating at any match. An investigation found that Balushi, who was playing in the Oman domestic competition at the time, was initially asked by a contact he knew from an unsanctioned tournament in Bahrain in 2017 to "do some work together” and to set up contact with three Oman players.

He did not facilitate the contact in that case, but didn't report the approach to cricket integrity officials. He was later approached by two associates of the initial contact, and passed on a message to an Oman player. The player rejected the approach and immediately reported it to anti-corruption officials.

Oman was one of four teams that secured a place through qualifying for the first round of the men's T20 World Cup in Australia starting in October. The top four teams in the first round will progress to a Super 12 stage, joining the top eight teams at the World Cup.

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