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June 8, 2000


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Text of Hansie Cronje's confession

The South African inquiry into match-fixing allegations in cricket on Thursday received a copy of disgraced captain Hansie Cronje's hand-written confession, made in April.

The confession was handed to United Cricket Board security chief Rory Steyn in the early hours of April 11, after news had broken in India that Dehi police had in its possession recorded telephone conversations of Cronje and a bookie about fixing of cricket matches.

Here's a partial text of the statement:

"I have been a Christian since childhood days when I grew up in the house of two wonderful people, Ewie and San-Marie Cronje. I was reborn after the tragic death of a four-year-old girl on the north coast road to Stanger. I tried to live a Christian life and walk the way the Lord wanted me to walk...

"I would like to apologise to all my family members who stood right behind me through this, especially (his wife) Bertha and all the other Christians who prayed for me.

"It has been a tough weekend but also a great weekend for me in that I now have the opportunity to face myself in the mirror again for the first time since the (1999/2000) Indian tour.

"On my way to the nets (before the first one-day international against Zimbabwe in January) I was stopped by Hamid (Cassim), a bloke who has been hanging around the team for a few years now, always handing out biltong (dried meat) to the guys in return for some tickets. He told me that if only he knew I was going to declare (in the fifth test against England at Centurion Park) he could have made himself some good money and my reply was: 'Why don't you ask?'

"Since that day, in a moment of stupidity and weakness, I allowed Satan and the world to dictate terms to me, rather than the Lord. Hamid called me almost four times a day from then on.

"He later introduced me to a friend called Sanjay during the one-day international series with England and Zimbabwe. Together, they told me that I could also make some cash if we could maybe cook a match. I told them that I was not prepared to do this unless we were assured of a place in the final.

"Of course, we only narrowly got through to the final and the opportunity never came. I had in my possession at that stage 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. dollars that Sanjay gave me just in case I had a change of mind.

"I told him that maybe (in) the first one-day international in India I could see what could be done, thinking that if we could get the match out of the way, we'd get rid of them and could then focus purely on cricket. My idea was never to involve other players.

"I would like to make it absolutely clear to any member of the South African team, whether player or management, about this: I lied to him (Sanjay) by saying certain players were involved when in fact I had never spoken to any of them. I couldn't face asking them to do it. I can't recall all the names that I mentioned and I can't remember the figures that were mentioned.

"I ignored him the night before the (opening India) match but early the next morning, Hamid phoned me again and urged me to go ahead with the plan. I phoned him up and suggested we go for it. All this time, I had in the back of my mind: Pride to play for South Africa and my team mates, whom I all respect. It was a difficult period for me before the match and I then decided I won't not try, I'll give it my best shot and see what happens.

"As it happened, we got 301 for three. I got 19 off 20 balls and India knocked it off quite comfortably after (Mornantau) Hayward got injured. I can honestly say that I tried to win the match, even at that stage.

"When I got back to the hotel, Sanjay was upset because we got too many runs and I blamed the Indian keeper for three chances that he missed. I did not accept any money for that match.

"I feel that I can bring something good out of all this.

"I have been a role model for many people in South Africa and this was a lesson for all of you out there: When Satan comes knocking on the door, always keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ and ask him to protect you from any wrong.

"The moment I took my eyes off Jesus, my whole world turned dark and it felt like someone had stuck a knife through my chest.

"Be thankful for family and friends. No matter what you go through, they will always stand by you. My parents have been through hell during my life and this has been their worst weekend ever. I want them to know that it was only because of their example that I am writing this letter and also want to be proud one day when I am their age.

"Thank you Mom and Dad, Frans (Brother) and Sus (Sister) and all the other family. I apologise for letting you down.

"To Bertha: She deserves better than me. Yet she has been patient and trying her utmost to keep me on the right track. She is a devoted Christian and I lied to her about this whole issue.

"I'll be back. Better off than I am now, once I have been punished."

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