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Cricket: Pakistani umpire Rauf denies fixing allegation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf Wednesday denied spot-fixing allegations levelled against him during the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition, saying he was ready to face any inquiry.

Rauf, a serving elite-level international umpire, was withdrawn by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from next month's Champions Trophy in England after media reports that he was under police investigation.

"I vehemently deny allegations of match-fixing, spot-fixing, taking gifts (from bookmakers) and any illegal money," Rauf, 57, said in his first public statement since returning from India.

"I am ready to face any inquiry if the ICC's anti-corruption unit wants to conduct any."

The investigations started on May 16 when Delhi police arrested three cricketers including Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, accusing them of deliberately bowling badly in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars during the lucrative IPL.

Indian media alleged Rauf was in contact with Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh, arrested on charges of acting as middleman between bookies, players and officials.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) distanced itself from the controversy, saying Rauf was under ICC control and the event was held in India, but assured action would be taken against Rauf if the governing body ordered it.

Rauf, also a former first-class cricketer, was included in the Elite Panel in 2006 and has so far stood in 48 Tests, 98 one-day internationals and 23 Twenty20 internationals.

Rauf said he had never been interested in fixing or backhanders.

"Fixing, illegal money and gifts have never been my topic, nor my target. These allegations have no truth and this is all," he said.

Rauf clarified his pull-out from the Champions Trophy, saying he was only withdrawn from the tournament and not removed from the panel of top umpires approved to stand in Tests and one-day internationals.

"I want to make it clear that the ICC has withdrawn me from the Trophy, they have not removed me," he said.

"The ICC took the decision in the best interests of the game and for me, and I accept that."

Rauf is the second Pakistani umpire to come under the scanner in fixing after another ex-international panel umpire was banned for four years in April following a sting operation by an Indian channel which showed him agreeing to fix matches.

Pakistan has a history of match-fixing controversies. Three of their players -- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer -- were banned and jailed in a spot-fixing scandal in 2010.

Former captain Salim Malik and paceman Ataur Rehman were banned for life and six top players including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saeed Anwar were fined in a match fixing inquiry in 2000.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130529/cricket-pakistani-umpire-rauf-denies-fixing-allegation