A day after the ICC anti corrution tribunal handed bans to the three Pakistan cricketers – Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt – in varying degrees, the ICC has not only thanked the parties that brought the guilty to light but also, believes it may be on the road to setting matters right.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat has expressed a hope that the findings and sanctions imposed by an independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal and handed down in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday will act as a strong deterrent to others who may be tempted to act in a way that threatens the integrity of cricket in future.
The independent tribunal, chaired by Michael Beloff, QC, found three Pakistan players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – guilty of charges relating to spot-fixing at the Lord’s Test match between England and Pakistan in August 2010. In addition, Salman Butt was also found guilty of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code by failing to report an approach made to him by Mazhar Majeed to engage in corrupt activity during The Oval Test match earlier in the same month.
Salman Butt was given a 10-year ban from any involvement in cricketing activities, five years of which were suspended on condition that, throughout that period, he commits no further breach of the code and that he participates, under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board, in a programme of anti-corruption education.
Mohammad Asif was given a 7-year ban from any involvement in cricketing activities, two years of which are suspended on condition that, throughout that period, he commits no further breach of the Code and he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of anti-corruption education.
Mohammad Amir was given a five-year ban from any involvement in cricketing activities.
In all cases, the commencement of each of the bans imposed against the players will be backdated to 2 September 2010 so to give credit for the period of provisional suspension already served.
Mr Lorgat said:
I am satisfied that the proceedings are now over and we respect the findings of the independent tribunal. The members of this tribunal are extremely experienced and have considered the matter at great length after hearing detailed submissions from all parties.
From the moment we became aware of the allegations of spot-fixing made by the News Of The World newspaper in August 2010, the ICC has left no stone unturned in pursuing this matter and we are therefore pleased with the outcome.
While I am deeply saddened that this case happened in the first place, I acknowledge and commend the decision to deliver lengthy bans to all three players. Corruption in our game will never be tolerated and, once again, I reiterate our zero-tolerance approach. I hope this investigation, and the verdicts delivered, makes that message crystal-clear.
Chairman of the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) Sir Ronnie Flanagan added:
Over the past few months, the ACSU and the ICC’s legal team have worked extremely hard on this case, including in its investigations prior to the time that the News Of The World’s story broke. We have subsequently received significant support and cooperation from the newspaper’s investigators and the Metropolitan Police in order to develop the evidence on which the tribunal has based its decision. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the News Of The World and the Metropolitan Police for all of their assistance during this process.
As to the publication of the tribunal’s written reasoned decision, Mr Lorgat said:
We note and agree with the tribunal’s strong and unanimous desire for the ICC to publish the decision in the interests of all concerned in the world of cricket. We are also aware of and fully respect the decision of the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service to charge the players with criminal offences in the UK and, with that in mind, we will carefully review the full decision and take proper legal advice before making any decision on publishing the reasoned determination.
This has to be one of the hardest decisions taken in the sport but then such harsh situations call for some tough measures.