After the Bengaluru police arrested Ali Asfak Thara — the owner of Karnataka Premier League franchise, Belagavi Tigers -- in connection with betting, the organisers of Abu Dhabi T10 league have distanced themselves from Thara.
Thara was one of the co-owners of the T10 League franchise, Kerala Kings — the side which had top players like Eoin Morgan and Chris Gayle in its ranks. The official website of the Kerala franchise too mentioned him as one of the co-owners, who ‘manages six leading teams’ in various leagues.
However, Shaji-ul Mulk, the chairman and the founder of Abu Dhabi T10, clarified to Sportstar that Thara is no longer part of the tournament. “He is no longer a part of the tournament. The league no longer has any association with him and he has been removed with immediate effect,” Mulk said.
The franchise was earlier owned by three partners -- Shafi ul Mulk, Hussein Adam Ali and Thara. But the league organisers insisted that now with Thara removed, the franchise -- which has changed its name to Kerala Knights -- will be run by ul Mulk and Ali. Later on Wednesday, even Thara’s name was taken off the franchise’s website.
The T10 organisers made it clear that they have zero tolerance for corruption.
Thara, however, had also organised the International Cricket Premier League — a tournament launched in Sri Lanka in 2016. Former Sri Lanka international Sanath Jayasuriya was the brand ambassador of the league.
However, top officials in the BCCI told this publication that the anti-corruption unit suspected Thara after probing the complaints by various players featuring in the KPL.
“While investigating the alleged match-fixing case in the KPL, the anti-corruption unit officials explored all the options and got a lot of information about him and other franchises, which did raise some suspicion,” one of the officials in the BCCI said.