Butt and Amir appeal bans

Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over spot-fixing bans.

    Butt has faced criticism after agreeing to work as a Cricket World Cup pundit for Pakistan's Channel Five [AFP]

    Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and paceman Mohammad Amir have filed appeals against their five-year bans for corruption to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Butt, Amir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of corruption by an ICC tribunal earlier this month for bowling deliberate no balls during a Test against England last August and were banned for a minimum of five years.

    “We have filed a statement of appeal in the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ban by the International Cricket Council anti-corruption tribunal," Butt's lawyer Yasin Patel said in a statement.

    Butt, who received a further five-year suspended ban, will also appear at London's City of Westminster Magistrates Court for a hearing to face criminal charges on March 17.

    Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said earlier this month that Butt and Amir, along with Asif and their agent Mazhar Majeed, had been summoned on charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat.

    Facing prosecution

    CPS head Simon Clements said at the time that his organisation, which is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by British police, believed it had enough proof to convict the players.

    "The process is now to set to motion, we have challenged the judgment of the tribunal on various grounds,'' Amir's lawyer Shahid Karim said.

    Amir said he was confident that the appeal would be successful.

    "It is a long battle ahead of us to prove our innocence but it is something I will pursue to the end. I want to prove my innocence," Amir said.

    Mohammad Asif also hinted at challenging the punishment before the March 2 deadline.

    The three men were suspended in September after British tabloid News of the World alleged the players took money from businessman Majeed to fix betting markets.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board initially backed the players and even named them in the one-day squad to play a one-day series against England. However, the International Cricket Council intervened and banned the trio on September 3.

    Butt and Asif will have to take part in an anti-corruption program supervised by the PCB to avoid having the suspended parts of their sentences imposed.

    'Extremely painful'

    PCB chief Ijaz Butt has described the last six months as "extremely painful for Pakistan cricket,'' but has said the bans were a "regrettable and a sad reality which must be faced.''

    Pakistan cricket has been hit by match fixing in the past, with Justice Mohammad Qayyum banning former captain Salim Malik and Ataur Rehman in 2000.

    Qayyum also fined several players and former captains Wasim Akram, Inzamam-ul-Haq and current coach Waqar Younis.

    Butt is presently working as a cricket pundit with a Pakistan television channel, Channel 5, for the World Cup, a move that has left the ICC unhappy. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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