DUBAI: ICC chief executive David Richardson Tuesday urged disgraced Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif to accept their guilt and share information on fixing to start their rehabilitation.
Former captain Butt, along with fast bowlers Asif and Mohammad Aamer, was banned by the International Cricket Council in 2011 after being found guilty of deliberately contriving no-balls in return for money in the Lord’s Test in England the previous year.
Butt received a 10-year ban, with five years suspended, and Asif was barred for seven years, with two suspended. Aamer was banned for five years – the minimum punishment in the ICC code.
All three along with their agent Mazhar Majeed were also jailed by an English court in 2011. The three players were released last year.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week rejected appeals from Butt and Asif. Aamer did not appeal after pleading guilty at his criminal trial.
Richardson urged the players to share any fixing information they have with the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit (ACSU).
“I am certain that both Butt and Asif have information that can be of great assistance to the ACSU and its ongoing fight against corruption in cricket,” he said.
“I would, therefore, urge them, without any further delay, to start the process of rebuilding their lives and reputations by apologising for their actions and meeting with ICC’s ACSU officials to come clean about what actually happened.”
Richardson said the players’ guilt had been established at three different forums.
“The guilt of these men has now been established on three separate occasions, in three separate sets of proceedings, first, before the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal, then in the English criminal courts, and now, finally, in the CAS,” he said.
Richardson, a former South African wicket-keeper batsman, said Butt and Asif must now accept their guilt.
“The time has now come for them to stop misleading the public, especially the supporters of the Pakistan cricket team, and to publicly accept their parts in this corrupt conspiracy,” he said.
The ICC anti-corruption tribunal had also directed that the trio undergo rehabilitation through the Pakistan Cricket Board or serve their full bans.
Richardson warned that fixing remained the biggest threat to the game.
“In my opinion, the single biggest threat to the viability and strength of cricket, both at international and domestic level, is that posed by those few unscrupulous individuals who, for unlawful financial reward, choose to engage in corrupt practices,” he said.
“The ICC and its member boards will continue to remain vigilant in our attempts to prevent corruption in the sport that we are charged with developing and protecting around the world.”
Pakistan’s reputation in international cricket was further tarnished when leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was banned for life last year after an England and Wales Cricket Board panel found him guilty of paying money to Essex county team-mate Mervyn Wsetfield to underperform in a 2009 match.
Kaneria’s appeal against the ban is being heard in London.
The ICC was forced to form its anti-corruption unit in 2001 after the game was rocked by match-fixing scandals resulting in life bans for former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje, India’s Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik of Pakistan.