The International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat remains confident that cricket’s governing body will seal the case in its favour when an independent tribunal decides the fate of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif.
The three suspended Pakistan players, who are being investigated over spot-fixing allegations made during the England tour, are set to face the tribunal January 6.
“We need to send out a strong message and that is part of what we want to achieve,” Lorgat told the BBC. “I am quite satisfied with the three judges we have managed to secure.”
The ICC, which suspended the players when the allegations were first made by the British tabloid the News of the World, also held a hearing against the players’ provisional suspensions in Dubai in October that was rejected by the one-man tribunal that comprised Michael Beloff.
While Salman and Amir had appealed against their provisional suspension, Asif chose not to and instead opted for a full hearing. The hearing rejected appeals against the suspension, creating a ruckus between Salman’s lawyers, who said that the tribunal is biased.
Beloff will also head January’s full hearing against the trio along with fellow code of conduct commissioners Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Kenya’s Sharad Rao.
Lorgat meanwhile, remained confident of securing the case. “We’ve worked hard at collecting all the evidence that we would require to make the charges stand. I’m confident that our guys have worked very hard in ensuring they have got a case they can present which should stand the test of scrutiny.”
He added that the trio, if found guilty, will be dealt with accordingly while revealing that they were still entitled to appeal any ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“We would want to be proportional but at the same time we do not want to show any leniency. These are severe
issues and integrity of the game is absolutely fundamental and we would not want to tolerate any of that in the sport.
“My understanding is that any matter that we decide on in a disciplinary process is always open to contest in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stood firm against the ICC when the allegations were first made. The stance prompted the ICC to
provisionally suspend the trio, thus forcing the PCB to pull them out of the One-Day International (ODI) squad that took on England. The Pakistan board then stopped all financial and moral support for the trio.
Salman’s lawyer lashes out
In a reaction to Lorgat’s statements, Salman Butt’s lawyer Khalid Ranjha hit back and said that the ICC chief’s comments were close to “threatening the tribunal” to give a verdict against the players. “What Lorgat has said is tantamount to threatening the prospective tribunal,” said Ranjha, a former Pakistan law minister. Ranjha, who is the lone lawyer representing the suspended opener after Aftab Gul gave up on the case, also said, “The ICC wants the judges to give a decision on dotted lines and this is not a good example set by the ICC official.” Ranjha also represented Salman in his unsuccessful appeal hearing and said he believed the ICC was trying to pressure the players into boycotting the tribunal. The hearing is set to start on January 6.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2010.
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