Accused trio questioned by police

British police questioned the three Pakistani cricketers accused of spot-fixing.


Afp September 04, 2010

LONDON: British police questioned the three Pakistani cricketers accused of spot-fixing as cricket’s governing body insisted the case was not the tip of a corruption iceburg in the game.

Mohammad Aamir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt arrived for questioning at a police station in north London while the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it had acted as soon as it could to charge the trio with “various offences” under its anti-corruption code and to suspend them pending a decision on those charges.

“The conclusion that we have come to is that there is a really arguable case to answer,” Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, told a press conference at the Lord’s ground.

‘Worst case since Cronje’ ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the case could be the worst example of corruption in cricket since former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje was revealed to have accepted money from bookmakers in a bid to influence games.

The sanctions have infuriated the Pakistani authorities, but Lorgat dismissed the notion that there was a conspiracy against Pakistan.

Hasan defends cricketers

Pakistani High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan said the ICC had “no business” to suspend them while the police investigation was ongoing. He said on Thursday he thought the trio might have been set up.

“I met the cricketers for two hours, cross-questioned them, got to the bottom of it and concluded that they were innocent,” Hasan told BBC radio. The ICC “have done the wrong thing. When there’s a live police inquiry, this takes precedence over both the ICC, civil or regulatory investigations and any internal disciplinary investigations.”

Yawar ‘not happy’

Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed said he was “not happy” about the situation but was trying to focus on his duties ahead of the forthcoming two Twenty20 internationals and five one-day games against England.

“I’m not happy about it, naturally”, he said, while insisting that the tour would go ahead. Pakistan later announced they had added Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Irfan to their squad.

PCB blasted

The failure of Pakistan cricket bosses to take action against three players accused of spot-fixing forced the world governing body to intervene by suspending them, said former selectors.

“The ICC has suspended the Pakistani players because the PCB showed reluctance in acting itself,” said former chief selector Iqbal Qasim. “The statements from Pakistani officials that no players would be suspended forced the ICC to take action.”

Former selector, Salahuddin Ahmed, said the PCB itself should have stepped in.“We haven’t seen anything from Ijaz Butt, and the manager Yawar Saeed is unable to answer any question asked by the media. So this ineptitude is coming from the PCB and its officials.”

INCOMPETENCE

Iqbal Qasim

“The ICC has suspended the players because the PCB showed reluctance in acting itself. The statements from Pakistani officials that no players would be suspended forced the ICC to take action.”

WARNING

Salahuddin Ahmed

“The PCB should have suspended the players after Sunday’s report. We haven’t seen anything from the PCB, and the manager is unable to answer any question asked.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2010.

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