Dambulla Thunders Owner Tamim Rahman Arrested For Allegedly Trying To Fix Matches In LPL

Tamim Rahman was detained by immigration officials at the Colombo International Airport owing to a travel ban imposed on him by the court

Dambulla Thunders owner Tamim Rahman X @sm_wajith
The Dambulla franchise was bought by Imperial Sports Group, led by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs Tamim Rahman and Golam Rakib. Photo: X/ @sm_wajith

Tamim Rahman, a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin and owner of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) franchise Dambulla Thunders, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of match-fixing. (More Cricket News)

An official from the Special Investigation Unit for the Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports at the Sports Ministry confirmed Rahman's arrest. The Colombo Magistrate's Court has remanded him in custody until 31 May.

Rahman, who leads the Imperial Sports Group, which purchased the Dambulla franchise in April, was detained by immigration officials at Bandaranaike International Airport following a court order.

The exact charges against him remain unclear, but he is being investigated under two provisions of Sri Lanka's sports act related to match-fixing and attempting to place bets. The LPL is scheduled to take place from 1 to 21 July.

In a related development, a court in Sri Lanka recently ordered Indian nationals Yoni Patel and P Akash to surrender their passports as they face indictment for match-fixing in the unsanctioned Legends Cricket League held in Colombo.

Patel, who owns a team in the Legends League, and Akash are accused of attempting to fix matches in the tournament, which took place from 8 to 19 March at Kandy's Pallekele Stadium. Both are currently out on bail.

Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to criminalise match-fixing and corruption in sports with the passage of a law in 2019. Offenders can face up to 10 years in prison and substantial fines. The law also penalises failure to report corrupt approaches.

Meanwhile, the auction for the fifth edition of the LPL was held on Tuesday, featuring 500 local and international players. Four years after its inception amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the league saw Matheesha Pathirana become its most expensive player ever, with a USD 120,000 price tag as he returned to his former team, Colombo Strikers, for the 2024 edition. Pathirana recently played for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League 2024.

The LPL, initially slated to begin in 2018, faced several postponements due to administrative issues within Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The current title holder is B-Love Kandy, who won the 2023 edition by defeating Dambulla Aura in the final. The tournament features competition among five franchises.

(With PTI inputs)