Karnataka Premier League Hit By Match Fixing Allegations, Arrests
While the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most popular domestic T20 league in India, there are a number of state leagues like the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) which have a strong fan following in their respective states.
Karnataka Premier League
The KPL is one of the few T20 leagues that the BCCI approved. The KPL started out back in 2009 when it was launched by Brijesh Patel. At the time, Patel was the secretary for the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA). Patel is currently serving as the IPL Chairman. The KPL is a two-week T20 tournament that usually takes place in the second half of the year. It follows a similar format as the IPL.
A total of eight KPL franchises take part in the league. The franchises are only allowed to pick players from within the state of Karnataka. The KPL brought both entertainment and cricket together as seven teams were made up of domestic cricketers. However, the eighth team was made up of celebrities, actors and models who came from the Kannada film industry. During the last couple of years, the KPL has had just seven teams battle it out for the championship.
Prize Money Involved
The average price to secure a KPL franchise was around 3.5 crores. Meanwhile, some of the top franchises like Bangalore Urban had a price tag of 7.2 crores. When it comes to cricket player salaries, the likes of Robin Uthappa and Stuart Binny fetched the highest prices. This was around 3.5 lakhs.
The games were broadcasted by Star India. A Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) report showed that the games were getting a pretty high rating.
Match Fixing Controversy
Reports have now emerged that there was more than one game fixed during this season of the KPL. What is interesting to note is that this was the first edition of the KPL where the BCCI’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) had the authority to monitor the entire tournament. They were present during the 2018 season, but not in full capacity.
The ACU claims that they had earlier warned the KSCA that they had information that some of the KPL games would be compromised. The ACU has now launched an investigation into the match fixing claims. So have the Karnataka Police, who have also made a number of arrests. The Karnataka Police and the ACU will work together on this matter and share information to get to the bottom of the match fixing scandal.
This is not the first time that the KPL has come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons. When Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath were in charge of the KSCA during 2010, they voiced their concerns over the corporate model that the KPL was using. They decided to suspend the KPL after the 2010-2011 season. There was no KPL tournament for the next three years. However, Brijesh Patel decided to bring back the KPL, once he came back as KSCA Secretary.
CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi Arrested
The Karnataka police have confirmed the arrests of Karnataka players CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi over spot fixing charges. Gautam is one of the most high-profile players in Karnataka. He was the captain of the Bellary Tuskers. They made it to the final of the KPL and ended up losing against the Hubli Tigers.
The police claim they have proof that the final was fixed. They allege that Gautam, along with teammate Kazi, accepted a 20-lakh bribe to score slowly and lose the game. The Tuskers ended up losing by eight runs. The two players are also accused of fixing another KPL game against the Benagluru Blasters.
More information on these match fixing allegations are expected to be released next week.