Pakistani players Muhammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam denied millions worth offers from betting companies, reveals the data available with the Pakistani news outlet.
In a significant development, two of Pakistan’s cricketing stars, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, have made headlines for their principled stance against sponsorship offers from betting companies associated with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The cricketers, known for their skills on the field, have rejected lucrative offers, citing concerns about the legality of such partnerships.
Emails made available to The News revealed that these players were approached by companies involved in illegal betting, which had allegedly collaborated with the PCB. The revelation comes amidst a backdrop of “conflict of interest” allegations against former chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, an inquiry into which is currently underway. Inzamam-ul-Haq, who resigned from his position, has denied these allegations.
The PCB’s acceptance of sponsorship from surrogate betting companies, such as Dafa News, has raised eyebrows as it is believed to have enabled over 150 illegal surrogate betting sites and apps to operate in Pakistan. Some Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises are also alleged to have pressured players to accept shirt logos and provide image rights to these illegal betting firms.
The notable aspect of this story is Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s principled stance. Babar refused a staggering Rs250 million yearly contract, while Mohammad Rizwan turned down a Rs100 million yearly deal from a single surrogate betting company due to their commitment to upholding the law.
Rizwan, who serves as the captain of Multan Sultans, even refused to display the logo of WOLF777 on his kit during the previous Pakistan Super League tournament, highlighting his commitment to these principles.
Emails sent to Babar and Rizwan by 1XBET, a betting company, offered to work with the players based on their social media presence. However, both players’ responses, shared with The News, firmly stated, “Thank you. As Muslims, we do not support any betting or surrogate betting brands. Thank you for reaching out.”
Furthermore, reports suggest that the PCB granted the image rights of Babar and Rizwan to these betting companies without their consent. This raises concerns about player rights and freedom of speech.
The PCB’s code of conduct clearly prohibits association with activities related to betting or gambling. The government’s crackdown on surrogate betting companies, numbering over 150, highlights the scale of the issue and its impact on the national economy.
Despite the government’s notification against such companies, there has been no concrete action taken by the authorities to date. This stance from Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan emphasizes the need for transparency and integrity in the world of cricket, with the hope that it will lead to a cleaner and more principled approach to the sport.