The Pakistan batsman who was secretly filmed claiming that his teammates threw matches for money said on Sunday he had only been repeating allegations he had read in newspapers. Yasir Hameed was filmed by the tabloid News of the World newspaper saying that some of his teammates were often trying to lose matches, claiming the 2004 Champions Trophy semifinal against West Indies was fixed. Hameed issued a statement on Sunday saying that a man, who at the time called himself Abid Khan but who he later recognized as News of the World reporter Mazhar Mahmood, had posed as a potential sponsor and that he started answering questions not knowing he was on camera. “He asked me about the match-fixing allegations against the three current Pakistani players and if I had any further knowledge,'' Hameed said after talks at the Pakistan High Commission. “As far as I can recall I only told him whatever I had already read in the newspapers about this matter. It seems that Abid had a hidden camera which I was totally unaware of.” Hameed, who said the incident had largely been ''inaccurately reported'' by the newspaper, said he was offered 25,000 pounds ($39,000) by the reporter to give a statement against three players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, currently under investigation for spot-fixing in the fourth test against England at Lord's which finished Aug. 29. ''I immediately refused and put the phone down. I neither called nor answered any calls from Abid after this conversation,'' he said. Hameed insisted he had not approached, or been approached by, anyone connected with the News of the World to ''disclose any allegations concerning the Pakistan team or any other players.'' He said he had been offered at least 50,000 pounds ($77,000) by the man for a sponsorship deal and only talked to him because ''naturally I was interested in what he had to say.'' Asif, Amir and Butt were charged and suspended by the International Cricket Council on Thursday and questioned by police on Friday over allegations they were involved in manipulating matches, first raised in the News of the World. The tabloid also claimed Sunday that a fourth Pakistan player is being investigated by the ICC, but that he cannot be named for legal reasons. The ICC said it had no comment on the report. The News of the World said the three suspended players face a total of 23 charges from the ICC. It also alleged that at least 10,000 pounds ($15,400) of the marked bank notes the newspaper gave to middleman Mazhar Majeed in return for knowing when no-balls would be bowled in the recent test series against England had been recovered from Butt's room. The News of the World also claimed that it had proof that Pakistani High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan was mistaken in his assertion that the newspaper recorded Majeed discussing the timing of the no-balls after they had been bowled on Aug. 26. The newspaper says it has timed evidence from e-mails, text messages, phone records, videos and receipts. Hasan, Pakistan's top diplomat in Britain, has accused the ICC of bias for banning the players while police are still looking into the case. Meanwhile, an ex-chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board has blamed his former organization for the fixing crisis that has engulfed the sport, citing a lack of professionalism. Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia, who was PCB chairman from 1999 to 2003, said when he was in charge there were closed circuit television cameras installed in hotel lobbies and hallways outside players' rooms to monitor those gaining access to the team. He said there didn't now appear to be enough vigilance, adding that 75-year-old Yawar Saeed is ill-suited to being team manager. “A lot of these problems are down to a lack of control from the PCB and management,” Zia told The Associated Press in an interview. Unless you have a security officer and manager who are sharp, it is hard to stay on top of these things. “The manager is an old man and such issues would be difficult for him to handle. There is not enough professionalism with the PCB and they have paid the price.”
By: Dawn News