The News reported Monday that Pakistani players Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan declined millions of rupees in betting company sponsorships. The magazine obtained communications from illegitimate companies that worked with the Pakistan Cricket Board that approached the players. A fact-finding commission is investigating “conflict of interest” charges against former head selector Inzimam-ul-Haq. He resigned after denying these charges.
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan ‘rejected’ lucrative betting company offers
The cricket board, in violation of the rules, accepted sponsorship from a surrogate betting sponsor like Dafa News, which allegedly opened the door for more than 150 illegal surrogate betting sites and apps to operate in Pakistan on all digital platforms and forced some PSL franchises to force players to accept shirt logos and give image rights to the illegal betting companies.
‘As Muslims, we oppose betting’
Babar and Mohammad Rizwan denied a Rs250 million and Rs100 million contract by one surrogate betting firm, respectively, because such sponsorships and contracts were illegal, according to a betting company source.
During the recent Pakistan Super League season, Multan Sultans skipper Rizwan refused to wear WOLF777 on his kit.
The News obtained an email from 1XBET, which said it wanted to partner with Babar due of his social media network.
But Saya Corporation, which handles Babar’s sponsorships, investments, and advertising, said, “Thank you. We do not support betting or surrogate brands as Muslims. Thanks for contacting me.”
Rizwan received the same offer and responded the same, a source-shared email showed. The insider further revealed that the PCB gave these betting companies Babar and Rizwan’s image rights without their wishes.
This source also provided The News with 1XBET digital media commercials using their photographs against their permission and supposedly under the blanket image rights approval granted to surrogate betting businesses because to their sponsorship of the PCB, PSL, and select franchises.
“Babar, Rizwan, and others have refused contracts from such companies, but the PCB and PSL franchises gave us their image rights,” the insider stated.
According to the anonymous official, certain PSL franchises ordered players to wear the logos of these proxy betting companies at all times, violating their freedom of speech and rights.
The PCB’s code of conduct states, “The Services/ Campaign shall not support any activity (commercial or otherwise) associated with betting, gambling, tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, weapons, obscene or sexually explicit language; which advocates the violation of Pakistani law or PCB’s policies”.
A PCB official said no sponsor had been hired since the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s “Zero Tolerance Against Surrogate Betting Companies” announcement. On September 25, the information ministry declared Dafa News a surrogate betting company in Pakistan.
“The PCB bans all betting and related activities. The statement said that while some news sites were sponsors, their certificate of incorporation and shareholders had never given them any ownership or betting interests.
The representative added that these companies have been accused of things that haven’t been proven.
“Needless to say, the PCB will abide by all relevant laws and ethical provisions in seeking sponsors for all upcoming events,” he added.
When proxy betting companies started advertising in cricket around 2021, they entered Pakistan. Four of the six PSL franchises had betting surrogates as important sponsors in 2023, and the PCB did not control them. Pakistan’s government has cracked down on more than 150 proxy betting organizations, costing the economy billions, The News said.