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History: The Cronje Affair and the Sportsbook

January 20, 2014

Though the Cronje Affair actually occurred in 1996, it was not made public until 2000.  In short, what happened was that there was a man by the name of Hansie Cronje who was the captain of a national cricket team in South Africa.  He was approached by a sportsbook by the name of Sanjay Chawla.  It turned out that Chawla was in cahoots with another sportsbook man by the name of Mukesh “John” Gupta and according to the evidence that was later uncovered, Cronje was approached by Chawla in regards to throwing a specific match that was in the Test in Kanpur.  Gupta then paid Cronje £65,000.

This has been the biggest scandal in the history of cricket as far as sports betting or a sportsbook is concerned.

Details About the Case

The date was April 7, 2000.  Delhi police made an announcement that they had recorded a conversation held by sportsbook Chawla and Cronje.  This conversation was regarding match fixing.  There were 3 additional players who were implicated in the conspiracy.

The very next day, the United Cricket Board of South Africa made a statement denying that their players would ever be involved in such a situation, but 3 days later Cronje was removed from his position as captain after a confession of his dishonesty.  Cronje also admitted to having accepted money from a sportsbook in London for “forecasting” game outcomes and not match fixing.

In June, one month after the initial statement, the King Commission started.  The next day, a player by the name of Gibbs said that he had been offered $15000 by Cronje to be paid if he didn’t score as many as 20 runs during the 5th ODI.  He added to that, there was another player by the name of Henry Williams who was to receive the same amount of money for conceding over 50 runs in the same game.

On the 15th of June, Cronje released a statement which revealed each of his contacts with the sportsbook.  In the third Test at Kanpur in 1996, he was introduced to the sportsbook Gupta.  Gupta put $30,000 in Cronje’s hand to ensure that the South Africans lost on the last day.  In the return tour, Cronje sold team information to the sportsbook for $50,000.

Later, Cronje was approached by another man who offered him a donation of R500,000 to be given to a charity if Cronje did certain things during the 2000 Centurion Test.  He also asked a fellow by the name of Strydom to place a bet on South Africa to win.  After the match, Cronje was visited by a man named Aronstam who gave him two separate amounts of money and a leather jacket.

On the 11th of October in 2000, Cronje was banned for life from the game.  In 2001 he challenged the ruling and the challenge was dismissed later that year.

In July of 2013 the Delhi police finally pressed charges against Cronje.

Maybe Cronje learned his lesson already about the world of sports betting and a certain sportsbook in particular, but the Cronje affair stands with other historic sports betting debacles and his name will be forever linked to this sportsbook scandal.  Today, Hansie Cronje faces additional penalties at the hands of the law.