Pakistan trio handed long bans

Captain Salman Butt given 10-year ban while Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir get seven and five years over spot-fixing.

     

    Al Jazeera's Rahul Pathak reports as suspended Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif are banned for at least five years after they were found guilty of corruption by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal in Doha.

    Michael Beloff, the lawyer who headed the tribunal, announced on Saturday that Butt, 26, was banned for 10 years with five of them suspended.

    Asif, 28, was ruled out for seven years – two of which are suspended – while 18-year-old Amir, one of the world's most promising fast bowlers, was banned for five.

    The players have been suspended since September 3 after a British tabloid alleged they bowled no-balls at pre-arranged times during the fourth Test between Pakistan and England in August at Lord's to fix "spot-betting'' markets.

    The trio have denied spot-fixing, the offence of pre-arranging individual events within a match which may or may not affect the result.

    It is alleged that The News of the World newspaper paid $241,000 to Mazhar Majeed, the players' agent.

    Michael Beloff, the head of the ICC's corruption unit, said the proven charges related to the Lord's test rather than a preceding match at the Oval.

    'Conspiracy to cheat'

    "The tribunal found that ... Mr Asif agreed to bowl and did bowl a deliberate no-ball in the Lord's test match played between Pakistan and England from 26 to 29 August 2010, Mr Amir agreed to bowl and did bowl two deliberate no-balls in the same test, and Mr Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate no balls, were proved," Beloff said in a statement.

    The tribunal cleared Butt of batting out a maiden over during the test at the Oval for financial gain, but proved the charge against the opening batsman of failing to report an illegal approach by Majeed.

    Butt and Asif - who along with Amir had faced a six-day ICC hearing that ended on January 11 - will have to participate in an anti-corruption programme supervised by the Pakistan Cricket Board in order to not have the suspended part of their sentences imposed.

    On Friday, British prosecutors announced the trio would face criminal charges over the matter, specifically over their actions at the Lord's Test match.

    The UK's Crown Prosecution Service said the trio, along with Majeed, had been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and with conspiracy to cheat.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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