Cronje, Woolmer murdered by mafia betting syndicates: Rice

September 8th, 2010 - 4:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sept.8 (ANI): Former South Africa cricket captain Clive Rice has called on investigators to re-examine the deaths of former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje in the wake of the latest Pakistan betting scandal in England.

Rice said he feared mafia betting syndicates had already murdered his close friend Woolmer and Cronje.

“These mafia betting syndicates do not stop at anything and they do not care who gets in their way,” Fox Sports quoted Rice, as saying.

Rice was reiterating the stance of former Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson, who had earlier told Fox Sports that match-fixing “might not be about money, it might be about extortion, and all the things that go on”.

“In Pakistan, there’s lots of extortion so it’s not necessarily about money,” Lawson said in an interview.

He added: “It could be ‘your career’s over if you don’t do X, Y and Z’. It’s a whole myriad of factors; it’s a different culture and community to ours, and, as a result, you get different pressures.”Rice, 61, said from his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, that he was not surprised to hear the latest allegations that Pakistan had rigged the results of the fourth Test against England at Lord’s and the Sydney Test in January.

“My first response was, ‘What’s new?’,” he said.

He called on the ICC to urgently introduce reform and enforce strict policing to permanently stamp out the complex web of match-fixing and spot-fixing crippling the game.

Former Proteas captain Cronje, who was banned for life for his role in a 2000 match-fixing scandal, died in a plane crash in Johannesburg in 2002. He was the only passenger.

Rice said that he feared the plane’s equipment was tampered with on the orders of a mafia syndicate.

“I am convinced his death wasn’t an accident,” he said.

Former South Africa and Pakistan coach Woolmer was found dead in a Jamaican hotel room in 2007 on the morning after his team lost to Ireland at the Cricket World Cup.

He was reportedly furious following the match and, according to conspiracy theories, was murdered to prevent him publicizing Pakistan’s alleged match fixing. (ANI)

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