London: The anti-corruption officers of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) ejected three spectators from a domestic T20 match over suspected links with bookies in India.
Those thrown out of Worcestershire`s Friends Life T20 match against Somerset at New Road on Saturday were overheard commentating on mobile phones on the match which was being televised by Sky.
They are believed to have been exploiting the time delay between live action and television broadcast in India to manipulate the illegal betting market on the sub-continent, according to `The Daily Telegraph`.
The latest action, for breaching ECB and ground regulations rather committing a criminal offence, form part of an overall ECB crackdown on what has been described as "court siding".
The ECB`s team of anti-corruption officers, all former police officers, have been particularly vigilant this season and have already ejected suspected "court siders" from more than a dozen county grounds, the newspaper report claims.
The ECB has drawn up a blacklist of those ejected from grounds to make identification easier for their anti-corruption officers, but some of those removed from one ground are known to have re-appeared at another venue.
The ECB`s anti-corruption unit has confirmed that Sussex`s CB40 match against Kent in August 2011 remains a live investigation while the recent one-day series between West Indies and Pakistan in the Caribbean is also understood to be under scrutiny from the ICC`s anti-corruption unit.
The ICC originally investigated the Sussex versus Kent match for claims that the match was fixed in favour of a Kent win because the ECB did not then have its own anti-corruption team.
The ECB unit, which was established in late 2011, took over the investigation and has continued to probe claims that some Sussex players were approached by bookmakers with a view to fixing the result.