ECB to probe McCullum's relationship with bookmakers
Brendon McCullum's England stint may have just hit an unforeseen bump as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is "exploring" the former New Zealand captain's association with bookmaker 22bet India.
McCullum has been associated with the Cyprus-registered betting company since November last year, which was close to six months after being appointed in his role as England's Test match head coach at the start of the summer.
The ECB regime was aware of Kiwi stalwart's gig outside the playing field but took no remorse about it. However, adverts on YouTube featuring Brendon McCullum and the social media feeds of the brand have finally fallen under ECB's scrutiny as a breach of its anti-corruption laws.
The code pertinent to the anti-corruption rulings of the ECB says, "participants" are prohibited from "directly or indirectly enticing, persuading, encouraging or facilitating any other party to enter into a bet in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any match or competition".
ECB 'exploring' Brendon McCullum 22bet India matter
In a statement issued over the Brendon McCullum case, the ECB said discussions are going on with the retired cricketer in relation to his 22bet India association.
"We are currently exploring the matter, and [are] in discussions with Brendon around his relationship with the Cypriot-based betting company, 22Bet. We have rules in place around gambling, and will always seek to ensure these are followed," the board statement reads.
The ECB has acted after an important turn of events in New Zealand on the McCullum matter. The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand last week filed an official complaint to the nation's Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
In its response, the DIA confirmed after verification that 22bet company's advertisements are misleading since "they are not a registered New Zealand sports bookmaker, nor are they licensed or regulated in New Zealand by the DIA."
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As a consequence, New Zealand authorities have geoblocked those ads and McCullum's involvement in the same within their territory. In these adverts, the former Black Caps wicketkeeper encourages betting on the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"The IPL is coming, and I think all cricket fans are excited for this big event. My friends at 22Bet are ready to make your IPL experience even more fascinating. 22Bet India guarantees the best odds," he could be heard in one of the videos posted by the company on Facebook.
There has been no formal word from McCullum about the case. But his agent Simon Auteri told the Times newspaper: "We are speaking to the ECB about this. I am not going to comment on anything. We are working through it."