6 Feb 2011

Guilty verdict issued by ICC in corruption case

8:15 am on 6 February 2011

Three Pakistani cricketers have been found guilty of corruption by the International Cricket Council and banned from the game for periods of several years.

They were accused of spot-fixing in the fourth Test between Pakistan and England at Lord's last August, but have always denied any wrongdoing.

Former captain Salman Butt received a 10-year ban, with five years suspended.

Fast bowlers Mohammad Asif was banned for seven years with two years suspended, and Mohammad Amir was banned for five years.

The BBC reports all three have the right of appeal to an international Court of Arbitration for Sport.

They were provisionally suspended in September after the News of the World newspaper reported that deliveries were bowled at specific points in England's innings after a payment was made to businessman Mazhar Majeed.

An independent tribunal of the ICC heard the case for six days in Doha in January.

During the hearing, Amir, 18, and Asif, 28, gave differing explanations for Majeed's accuracy in predicting when they would overstep.

Amir, who finished with figures of 6-84 and the man of the match award in England's innings victory, said he did not know why he had cleared the popping crease with his front foot.

Asif told the panel that he had made a mistake after being instructed by Butt, 26, to bowl a faster delivery.

In a separate development, the Crown Prosecution Service announced on Friday the trio and Majeed would face criminal charges.

The players have been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and also conspiracy to cheat. The BBC reports they have strongly denied any wrongdoing.