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Lengthy bans for Pakistan players

Butt, Amir and Asif are the first ones to be penalised for spot-fixing

DOHA: An anti-corruption tribunal of the ICC has banned former Pakistan captain Salman Butt for 10 years, Mohammad Asif for seven years and Mohammad Amir for five years for their role in a spot-fixing betting scam. A statement read out at the tribunal on Saturday said: “The tribunal heard the charges as Amir agreed to bowl no-balls, and did bowl no-balls, and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate balls, and the tribunal imposes the following sanctions.

“On Butt, ten years ineligibility, five years of which are suspended on the condition that he doesn't commit further breaches of the code, and that he participates under the auspices of Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of anti-corruption education.

“On Asif, a sanction of seven years of ineligibility, two years of which are suspended on the condition that he commits no further breach of the code and also participates in an anti-corruption programme.

“On Amir, a sanction of five years ineligibility. No further sanctions are imposed on any player.”

The decisions came after a lengthy nine-hour hearing at the Qatar Financial Center, and following much argument after the players' lawyers requested the verdict be adjourned as it could affect the criminal case against the players in London.

The charges relate to alleged incidents during a Test match against England at Lord's last year, when Britain's News of the World newspaper claimed the players were willing to deliberately bowl no-balls.

The newspaper alleged the players, who are currently provisionally suspended from international cricket, had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam organised by British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

The members of the tribunal, headed by Michael Beloff, heard the case for six days last month before deferring the announcement on the request of players' lawyers.

Last month Beloff revealed that while Asif and Amir were absolved of the charges relating to another match — the third Test at The Oval (played before the Lord's match) — one charge against Butt remained under investigation.

In a separate development on Friday, British prosecutors charged the three players as well as their agent with corruption offences and summoned them in court on March 17.

Butt, Amir and Asif became the first players banned for spot-fixing, the latest innovation in which players obey specific orders during the game pre-arranged with bookmakers. — AFP

Corrections and Clarifications

Referring to an entry in the Corrections and clarifications column (February 10, 2011) on Ajay Sharma and Ajay Jadeja, the Sports Desk said: Both Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma were banned. But subsequently, Jadeja was acquitted and allowed to play domestic cricket. Ajay Sharma and Md. Azharuddin have life bans. Azhar's case is sub judice.

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