ICC hands lengthy bans to spot-fixing trio

By AFP
Published: February 5, 2011
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The trio of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were handed bans by the ICC for spot-fixing. PHOTO: AFP

The trio of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were handed bans by the ICC for spot-fixing. PHOTO: AFP

DOHA: Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was banned for 10 years, and fast bowling pair Mohammad Asif for seven years and Mohammad Amir for five years on Saturday after being found guilty of corruption.

The head of the International Cricket Council tribunal Michael Beloff announced the verdict after a lengthy nine-hour hearing in the Qatari capital.

“The Tribunal found that the charges under Article 2.1.1 of the (ICC) code that (respectively) 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.

“Amir agreed to bowl and did bowl two deliberate no balls in the same Test, and Butt was party to the bowling of those deliberate no balls, were proved,” said Beloff.

The tribunal then announced that 26-year-old Butt was banned for 10 years.

But it added: “Five years are suspended on condition that 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.”

Asif, 28, received a seven-year ban with two suspended on the same condition while 18-year-old Amir was handed a straight five-year ban.

The charges relate to alleged incidents during the Test 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 three had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam organised by British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

The members of the tribunal heard the case for six days last month before deferring the announcement on the request of players’ lawyers.

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

Saturday’s decision followed much argument after the players’ lawyers requested the verdict be adjourned as it could prejudice the criminal case.

The trio have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

However the decision is sure to heap further scandal on the corruption-tainted sport, whose marquee event — the World Cup — starts in the sub-continent in less than a fortnight.

Cricket was badly hit by the menace of match-fixing in 2000, resulting in life bans on Pakistan’s Salim Malik and Ata-ur Rehman, India’s Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and South Africa’s Hansie Cronje.

Butt, Amir and Asif became the first players banned over allegations of spot-fixing.

The players have 21 days to appeal against the sanctions in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.

Beloff made recommendations to the ICC to make “certain changes to the code with a view to providing flexibility in relation to minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances.”

“The tribunal notes that it is for the ICC, whether and, if so when, the fully reasoned decision in respect of the breaches of the Code and of the sanctions imposed in consequence should be published.

“It is our strong and unanimous view that it is in the interests of all concerned in the world of cricket that publication should take place as soon as possible,” added Beloff, without taking any questions from media.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • bilal siddiqui
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:13PM

    shame on u guys Recommend

  • Perplexed
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:18PM

    Ok…They might have deserved the punishment…

    I am not here to defend them and they can defend their cases in court of arbitrartion themselves…….

    But what about Suresh Raina, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh as well as DeFrietus…….

    All of the above took bribes and still were left off the hook…no punishment and cases rolled under the carpet by respective boards and ICC was not allowed to look into the matters of these players….Isn’t it Double Standard……??????????????

    What I want to say is that the verdict came as expected and I believe that they might have been wrong doers too….but still punishing only players from a single nation and leaving others…it just does not look justice……………that too over the decades ………….Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:22PM

    This will make me go #ohreally. Then, what happened to Mazhar Majeed.Recommend

  • Irfan
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Now PCB should announce a Life Ban on these three.Recommend

  • aslam
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:27PM

    LOL @ butt, asif, amir… go home and enjoy your “earnings” now… hahahRecommend

  • Fighter
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:28PM

    This is a conspiracy against Pakistan and its cricket team. I think we should withdraw our affiliation from ICC and form our own cricket under Pakistani rule. Government of Pakistan need to lodge a complain at diplomatic level to UK. we must fight for our justice. We have seen ample debate on our television channels that the video evidence is fake. Recommend

  • Raza
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:36PM

    very sad Aamer and Asif….miss uRecommend

  • Mir
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:43PM

    What has all the cases of Suresh Raina, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh as well as DeFrietus got to do with our country and its players?? What should have been done instead?? given them play time after what they have done? Stop raising fingers at others when its time to look inside ones own shirt. Recommend

  • A Suhail
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @Fighter. So if we make our own cricket under Pakistani rule then who will we play against? Get off the conspiracy bandwagon and smell the roses. What “ample debate” are you talking about which confirms the video evidence is fake? Newspapers from England all the way to Qatar have written that there is enough damning evidence to convict these three stooges. Good riddance to these three and I bet we will have enough good players to take their place. Recommend

  • Perplexed
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:59PM

    @Mir:
    You have misunderstood what I meant to say….
    Our nation has become so simple….that we do not understand something unless it involves us…

    Just imagine your own son gets punished for pick pocketing but your neighbour’s son remains free even though he did the same….just because he is son of DSP …??? Then what will you do…You will say the same words as I said…
    i.e. although I am not defending them but why others with similar crimes are free?????

    That was my point….come out of so called “liberal attire” and be “balanced”……….its not patriotism but its “level mindedness” that I am proposing……………Recommend

  • NAFISA
    Feb 5, 2011 - 8:59PM

    I feel the worse for Aamir. he had just gotten started on his career. God knows what played inside the mind of that boy and turned him into this. could’ve lasted for atleast 12 more years! sighRecommend

  • drjkhan
    Feb 5, 2011 - 9:11PM

    What kind of sleepy nation we are….? We can’t defend our heroes….Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    Feb 5, 2011 - 9:12PM

    @Perplexed:
    ICC can’t punish the players twice. If the PCB has taken action on their own accord and charged the players then ICC couldn’t have punished them. All blame should be put on PCB for not handling the matter properly. If the PCB had suspended the players instantly and then charged them then matter wouldn’t have taken such ugly turn………..It seems that Michael Beloff did want to suspend Amir’s punishment too, but he didn’t have choice……….. I’ve always thought ICC to be biased and still think it even now, but I think our own PCB is more responsible for this mess…………

    Amir, Amir, Amir…………….
    I’m with you kid…………..Recommend

  • Mir
    Feb 5, 2011 - 9:26PM

    @Perplexed.

    With your logic because the neighbors son is doing it, and your son gets caught you will take out rallies and burn buses till the neighbors son gets arrested? I do not see why you leave Pakistan to other countries problems when the biggest problem is right in front of your nose. The “liberals” are realistic enough to tell you to grow up and deal with this in 2011. The world is definitely not waiting on us favorably. Clean house and start running Pakistan. Recommend

  • Cosmo
    Feb 5, 2011 - 9:49PM

    @Perplexed:
    “Suresh Raina”… Why would you get his name involved in all this. Man you need to get your facts correct.Recommend

  • Perplexed
    Feb 5, 2011 - 9:51PM

    @Mir:
    and where did I mention “burning buses and taking out rallies…”
    I am not in favor of such things…!! I just said that we should at least open our eyes to the bias and see what is happening around us….I am not saying that the three should be freed even if they have done it….but at least you can ask for justice all around………..and justice to be applied to other countries’ players……..

    I am steadfast with my point…..when USA is defending their citizen even if he has done something blatant in Lahore recently then why can’t this nation of “cautious” defend their players knowing that ICC is as biased as always……???

    I think we are still mentally under siege of “Europeans”….

    If you still keep on commenting in this way then I will have only one thing to say..
    ” God only helps those who help themselves”
    Not only house cleaning is required as you say but we need to come out of “ostrich like” style and fight for our rights……….. rather than joining the bandwagon of critics and get a pat from colonials………………….Grow up I think we need to remind you that this is 2011 and not 1870s or 1880s when everything that colonials said was right………..Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Feb 5, 2011 - 10:25PM

    So the three “Stooges” are now out for good. I can only wail for Muhammad Amir who must have been victim to his seniors pressures. I remember once Mr. Imran Khan in an interview said “bring tea for our seniors” at a time when he joined Pakistani Team as a bowler. He refused to do so. In fact our juniors are always under pressure of his influential seniors and have to follow their instructions so as to keep them in their good books and are not dropped for dubious reasons. Recommend

  • AS
    Feb 5, 2011 - 10:32PM

    @Irfan: I totally agree with you. They have tarnished the image of Pakistan. We should condemn their actions rather that demanding any kind of leniency. We don’t need them. We have ample talent. Recommend

  • Abbas Khan
    Feb 5, 2011 - 10:36PM

    Dear Fighter, instead of taking so much trouble, why don’t we do one simple thing and that is “Stop Gambling”Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan
    Feb 5, 2011 - 11:06PM

    The thief is the one who gets caught. Unfortunately our trio got caught in the trap.
    Suresh Raina, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Dennis Lillee did not get caught and are free. Recommend

  • parvez
    Feb 6, 2011 - 12:19AM

    Aamir will be around 24 at the end of his 5 years so he still has years of cricket ahead.
    Also by that time this affair will be at best a distant memory.
    The other two are history. Recommend

  • Mudassar Nawaz
    Feb 6, 2011 - 1:20AM

    i think they deserved more than that!Recommend

  • Revolution - get rid of all the feudal politicians
    Feb 6, 2011 - 1:25AM

    There is no smoke without fire – if there is enough “neutral” evidence that their intentions were as such then the trio should have been banned for life. However with the sentences handed out it seems like the case was not proven beyond doubt that probably explains why the middle path was chosen. The players should appeal and PCB this time should support the players with a top notch legal defense. Anyway, I do maintain that If ICC has enough evidence they should have been banned for life and criminal charges pursued against them in Pakistan.

    On the other hand – i am appalled that M. Aamir was not given a suspended sentence. I fail to understand why he wasn’t given a 3-2 equation. I would take that up strongly with ICC. It is beyond reasoning.

    Looking forward to the WC now – I think we have a balanced team. Players will need to play with “Jazbaa” for Pakistan! They are nothing without Pakistan. Recommend

  • Feb 6, 2011 - 1:35AM

    @Perplexed

    I am not the one who should open their eyes, it is the rest of this country that needs to do that. Crying about the injustices will not get the injustices to end on us. We are being compartmentalized from the rest of the world because of pointing fingers at others. If we keep up the “CIA created the Taliban” or the “Desouza got away with it” or the “Zardari is my corrupt president” crap we will be always looked as the whiny and shameless country that we have become. Nothing like this happens because of 1 person. If you keep looking at the past mistakes and want to repeat them in the odd chance you get away with it then you are creating a population that is a waste of soil on this planet. We did those evils and we should be punished accordingly. Thats how I look at it. I do not care what my neighbors son did or got away with. I will never protect my son if he ever did anything wrong and I would make it a public spectacle. Thats how respectable and educated people live even with evil all around them and those are the things that you will see the world respect and follow. Recommend

  • Wasif
    Feb 6, 2011 - 2:05AM

    I feel very sorry for Amir to be in this unfortunate situation. He is such a talented guy and it’s a pity he fell for this trap. Its about time that PCB starts educating our cricket players about morals, ethics and responsibilities as a Pakistani cricket player. Recommend

  • Feb 6, 2011 - 3:22AM

    Had PCB itself taken steps to weed out the corrupt elements from the team, the nation would face such an ignominy today. Who doesn’t know the tainted past of Mohammad Asif who was involved in drug taking and also in match fixing. The PCB officials should not support these guilty cricketers any more. PCB should also ban the trio for period longer than the ICC’s. The money recovered from salman butt and others should be confiscated. Hopefully, whatever is left to dispense complete justice by the ICC, the remainder will be done by the english court in london.Recommend

  • Ani
    Feb 6, 2011 - 4:49AM

    It is the proverbial ‘foreign hand’ that decided to take a stand and hold the guilty accountable. If only the PCB had done so. What an expression of institutional leadership and personal accountability that would be in a land scarce in both. Pakistani cricket will emerge stronger, in the end. Recommend

  • Fighter
    Feb 6, 2011 - 4:58AM

    I am amazed in how simply we are accepting that they are guilty. ICC is no law agency and we should not accept this verdict. We should petition our government to force PCB to include these three for WC or else we should not participate. Let the ICC loose billions in revenue. It is time we stand up against all conspiracies targeted towards Pakistan by ICC and BCCI.
    If Amir and Asif are to play in the WC we would probably be the favorites to win it this time in the subcontinent and that is why BBCI and ICC is obsessed in defaming and harming our cricket team.
    Do you all think that that Lahore attack on Sri Lankan team and England No-ball saga is just a coincidence? I would seriously recommend for us to boycott the WC and stand up for justice. Recommend

  • Hello Dawn
    Feb 6, 2011 - 5:29AM

    I think cricket should be completely banned in Pakistan. The players are only bringing shame and nothing else. The time when Imran Khan, Waqar , and Waseem Akram were playing was the only glorious time and now the players are only in field for personal gains.Recommend

  • J Oberoi
    Feb 6, 2011 - 11:15AM

    @Anwar Hasan:
    How do you charge somebody with a crime when he is not caught? Are you familiar with Justice Qayyum’s report? It listed the who-is-who of Pakistani cricket most of the big names got away nonetheless. Here’s the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sport/cricket/763387.stmRecommend

  • matabele
    Feb 6, 2011 - 11:17AM

    Banning players is a more serious form of cheating than spot fixing. Banning of top players fixes not only matches, but entire series.

    Shame on the ICC.

    There should be no ban whatsoever unless criminal charges are first proven, and I, as a viewer can first be convinced that a crime actually occurred.

    I, for one, think this is a very dark day for international cricket.Recommend

  • jeanne
    Feb 6, 2011 - 11:27AM

    This is typical of the “blame culture”, all too evident in the international cricketing arena. The problems leading to this kind of incident are structural. Responsibility should be accepted by those in positions of authority throughout the cricketing establishment.

    Blaming your own shortcomings on an 18 year old cricketer is shameful.Recommend

  • Dinesh
    Feb 6, 2011 - 12:51PM

    CONGRATS TAINTED TRIO’s Now,one day one of you would be PCB Chief or Sport Minister of Pakistan. If India can Elect and Appoint MP to a Match-Fixer, why not Pakistan?Recommend

  • dr naresh tiwari
    Feb 6, 2011 - 1:29PM

    they should go to swiss sports court if they are innocent and get justice Recommend

  • Anoop
    Feb 6, 2011 - 5:54PM

    Lol..Recommend

  • asit
    Feb 6, 2011 - 6:10PM

    @perplexed… Suresh Raina? You are just hell bent on one thing… if some of us is banned some of them should also be!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shame on you man. These three cheated and got punished. That’s it. Period.
    If some one else does..they will be punished too and there is no reason to beleive they will not be.Recommend

  • Mastishhk
    Feb 6, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @FIGHTER……((( Let the ICC loose billions in revenue ?????), No matches are being played in PAKISTAN dude, and its a fact that Pakistan stopped bringing in revenue a long time ago. Noone’s interested in watching a team play comprising of match fixers.ICC should be applauded for setting a right precedent for other potential match fixers.The TRIO got what it deserved…BAN !!! Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    Feb 6, 2011 - 7:12PM

    @Revolution – get rid of all the feudal politicians:
    Banned for life??????? What are you talking about?????????You should have seen Haroon Lorgat’s press conference today. They are charged for Spot Fixing not Match Fixing. The difference between the two is as much as the difference between a theft and a murder.
    As for not suspending Amir’s punishment, I think the five years is the minimum punishment, that’s why he didn’t get suspended punishment, because I think Beloff did consider it but he said he couldn’t do anything about it.

    I’m just waiting for the further process, wanna see how things turn out for Amir, because not matter what I can’t bring myself to not to believe in him……….Recommend

  • Feb 6, 2011 - 7:28PM

    aap tu bary smart ho@Henna Khan: Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    Feb 6, 2011 - 7:29PM

    He did repeat what seems to have emerged as the most intriguing point of the whole affair: that the tribunal was keen on giving lower sentences, to at least two players if not all three. That seemed strangely at odds – perhaps even a little disconnected – with what the rest of the cricket world was thinking and from all the speculation about sanctions beforehand, not once did this particular permutation appear.
    “Two no-balls should not be five years punishment, they have said this themselves,” Amir said. “I will also say it is too much and I wasn’t expecting it. I can’t think clearly right now.”

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan/content/current/story/499700.htmlRecommend

  • irfan
    Feb 6, 2011 - 10:01PM

    It not about just 2 No balls or even 1 no ball
    It is about “Cheating with whole Nation”

    Even it would be better if they would had admitted these “no balls” at first instance, and had applied for forgiveness. Firstly they did a wrong thing, then they lied lied to the nation and tried to prove that they were innocent while they are not.Recommend

  • Asad Baig
    Feb 6, 2011 - 10:44PM

    As a keen follower of Pakistan Cricket for over three decades I feel sorry that Pakistan Cricket is facing this crisis.I feel happy and sad at the same time,happy that guilty have been punished and sad for Mohammad Amir,what a waste of such wonderful talent.I think Amir is the most talented fast bowler to come out from Pakistan in the last 30 years along with Wasim Akram,Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akther (though Shoaib did not fully do justice to his talent).
    The current PCB -Pakistan Cricket Board, the most incompetent cricket board in Pakistan Cricket history,is equally to be blamed for mishandling the case at start,when they did not suspend the players immediately.The PCB is also a party to all this when they were getting all the news and not taking any action against players indiscipline and corruption.In fact PCB created groups in the team and supported infighting among players so the officials of PCB could enjoy their salaries and free trips abroad at the expense of Pakistan Cricket going downhill.
    I hope the banning of the trio sends a clear message to all cricketers around the world that they should play clean cricket and should not play with the honour and dignity of their country for the sake of money or any other thing.Recommend

  • Perplexed
    Feb 6, 2011 - 11:44PM

    @asit and @cosmo
    Remember I am not the one pointing finger at Prof.Dr.His Highness Suresh Raina…It was Srilanka Cricket Board who reported it to BCCI with CCTV footage and audio recordings put on DVDs and it was mentioned in truth loving media of the world (Guardian, Sydney Herald to name a few) although this news was banned in Cricinfo and related sites.

    What I want to say is that in today’s Cricketing world thief is only that who is from a weak nation and is caught….
    Otherwise if you are from stronger sponsor related country then your crimes can be swept under the carpet….Go and ask Head of Sri Lanka Board about the whole episode…….!!!

    Again I repeat……that BCCI and all the people safe guarding Mr.Raina should be ashamed not me…
    Because I say whatever punishment has been given to trio …that is fine….but this justice should be equal everywhere……………

    Remember Amer Asif were victim of sting operation…But I a sure there are tens of players in world cricket who will be caught red handed live…without sting operations………it is not the case of three players spot fixing….it is clear that such things involve many people rather than just three “caught ones”………..
    Mark my words….only time will tell…………….Recommend

  • rehan
    Feb 7, 2011 - 12:44AM

    NO TENSION GUYS WE R Pakistani ups n down part of lifeRecommend

  • Ehsan
    Feb 7, 2011 - 12:57AM

    The three should not be allowed to come any where near cricket any more! Let’s keep these people that sell the nation away from the sport for their life! PCB are you listning? Time to take some responsibility and take action now that it is proved beyond doubt that these three where cheating for their personal gains.
    There are so many other upcoming and talented players… there is no reason to take any of these three back again.Recommend

  • Kittu
    Feb 7, 2011 - 12:37PM

    @Perplexed,

    I am no fan of Raina..But Raina makes more money than whole pakistani team combined. So I don’t see why he would give all that up for few thousand dollars..Recommend

  • matabele
    Feb 7, 2011 - 1:19PM

    I would like also to know who arranged for the “sting”, and what their reasons were for doing so. The whole affair is reminiscent of th Hansie Cronje affair – he was brought to justice for not fixing a match rather than for match fixing.

    The pressures brought to bear on players, and in particular young players, are excessive. It is the responsibility of management and cricket governing bodies to manage this situation, and to protect their players so that they are able to get on with the job of playing cricket for our entertainment.

    It is obscene that the players take all the blame, and the management and governing bodies absolve themselves of all culpability.Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    Feb 7, 2011 - 6:26PM

    @irfan:
    At least Amir didn’t lie. He admitted to throw no ball deliberately. He also admitted that his captain asked him to throw no ball. He has said both the things from the beginning. So if ICC believed him for admitting to deliberately throwing no ball, why didn’t ICC also believe him that he did so because the captain told him to do so. Now everyone who plays and watches Cricket knows very well that pressure matters very much in the match, the players have to increase or release pressure on the opposing team. If a bowler, and an eighteen years old, is told by his captain to throw a no ball to release pressure on the opposing team as a game strategy, why’s he to blame. Since when has throwing a no ball become a crime.

    And for all those who think that the players should have been punished harsher, for God’s sake stop being so “self-righteous”, they’re charged for Spot Fixing not a murder……….
    First, the media was all about giving them harshest punishments, but now when they’re actually given, they’re instantly saying its too much for throwing a couple of no balls……..Now that the media’s mood has changed the players are going to be off the hook soon…………Recommend

  • matabele
    Feb 8, 2011 - 11:55AM

    The major objective was to destroy the most talented bowling attack in world cricket for the upcoming World Cup, in order to give less talented (but favored) teams a chance.

    Perhaps the evidence will be reviewed after the World Cup?Recommend

  • irfan
    Feb 8, 2011 - 8:33PM

    @Henna Khan:
    Sorry but I don’t agree with your argument.
    I can not digest that a captain will ask a bowler (18 years old) to bowl a “no ball” deliberately and he will “just” do it. wow what an explanation. Even 10-12 years old boys playing in the streets will tell you that you can’t bowl a no ball to release pressure or increase pressure on opposite side (as you have quoted).

    They did a wrong thing and they deserve punishment.Recommend

  • Hamood
    Feb 9, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now players will think long and hard before accepting haram money.Recommend

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