14 April 2024 last updated at 19:15 GMT
I received death threats for refusing to fix IPL matches, says Lalit Modi
Saturday 18 May 2013

Lalit Modi, now in exile in London, was the architect of the billion-dollar cricket league. A league which has revolutionised the game completely, making India the true commercial epicentre of the sport.

Answering questions on the latest scandal to rock IPL from his London home, he told Mail Today over the phone: "Well, my first thought was the same as everyone else; complete shock. After the events of last year it is very disappointing to be facing the same crisis again.

"We have to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But if these allegations are correct, then the IPL must move swiftly and deliver the harshest punishments that are available."

So, does the T20 format lend itself to spot-fixing easily because of the game's intensity? Modi reckons, "I certainly have personal experience of it as I received death threats in 2009 because I refused to fix IPL matches. It is the fundamental reason why I was forced to leave India.

"But while the potential for such activities are certainly very real, I don't think the IPL is any more susceptible than any other form of cricket or any other form of competitive sport for that matter.

"Of course the IPL is under tremendous scrutiny because of the type of product that it is. But to suggest the IPL is somehow different is not correct."

Despite all this, the cash rich league has seen the quality of cricket get better and better. But now, one wonders whether all the close games were 'fixed' - that is what a blowout like this throws into stark relief.

Modi believes this year has certainly been exciting and today's revelations should not take anything away from the quality of cricket played by some of the world's best players.

The IPL, he says, was always supposed to be an exciting mix of sport, entertainment and Bollywood and the reputation it has created for itself is an important reason why the authorities must act on this issue quickly.

What prevents Modi from returning to India is something that he doesn't want to get into at this juncture. Nor does he want to discuss the status of the board inquiry against him.

He is clear that he cannot comment on both issues as they are sensitive. According to him, he knew right from the start that the IPL was going to be a winner. "We knew the IPL was a much anticipated product. We realised it required a strong management. It certainly needs that now too."

Why are cricketers errant when there is already so much money floating around? Why do they then succumb? Modi says: "You would need to ask them that!All I know is that the authorities must continue to do everything they can and impose the harshest penalties possible on those who are proven to have transgressed, in order to show that this will not be tolerated."

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