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Australian player 'fabricated' game-fixing story: CPBL (update)

2013/12/16 22:50:42

Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The claim that an Australian player was approached with an offer to fix a game during the Asia Series held in Taiwan in November was a "fabricated lie," Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) said Monday.

Announcing the result of its investigation, the CPBL demanded an apology from the Australian Baseball League (ABL).

The offer to have the Canberra Cavalry lose in the Asia Series semifinal was "a fabrication without a thread of truth" by catcher Matt Blazynski, and the Canberra Times report that broke the story on Nov. 23 was "not based on fact," the CPBL said in a statement.

"The lie and the article caused extremely serious damage to the 2013 Asia Series, the CPBL, baseball fans and those who work in baseball in Taiwan," the league said.

The CPBL demanded in a letter to the ABL that the Australian league produce a letter of apology and publish the letter in the Canberra Times to clarify the matter.

Copies of the letter to the ABL were sent to the leagues' counterparts in Japan, South Korea and Europe, which were also represented in the six-team tournament held Nov. 15-20.

The CPBL said that until its demand is met, it will put cooperation and exchange activities with the ABL on hold.

Blazynski, who did not play in the Series, told the Canberra Times that he had been approached at a bar in Taichung on Nov. 17, the eve of the semifinal between the Cavalry and the Samsung Lions of South Korea, and was offered $30,000 to help lose the game by at least seven runs.

Blazynski referred the matter to Cavalry coaches, who passed it up the chain, and it eventually led to Asia Series bosses contacting police, the paper reported.

The Cavalry beat the Lions 9-5 and went on to win the championship by routing Taiwan's Uni-President Lions 14-4.

During its investigation, the CPBL reviewed a closed circuit TV recording of the player's time at the bar, called Simba, and found it was he who chatted up two local men and a woman. No money was produced during the encounter, the league said.

In its statement, the CPBL also criticized Blazynski for refusing to cooperate with its investigation during a video conference arranged with the help of the ABL on Dec. 6.

"He was evasive and unwilling to fully cooperate with the CPBL's request for a legal investigation or to even provide his cell phone number," the league said.

CPBL President Huang Cheng-tai would not respond to reporters' questions and instead referred them to the league's statement.

Wang Hui-min, the CPBL's deputy secretary-general, said the result of the investigation was based on information gathered through the league's anti-gambling mechanism, which consists of the National Police Administration, the High Prosecutors' Office and the players union.

(By Lin Hong-han and Jay Chen)