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Salman Butt ready to face criminal proceedings

09 February, 2011

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LAHORE: Disgraced cricketer Salman Butt has said he does not intend to run away from the criminal charges levelled against him by the London Police and would challenge the 10-year ban impose on him for spot-fixing charges in the higher courts.

The Pakistan cricketer said Tuesday it was wrong to say that he would not go to London, where he had been summoned by the Police on March 17 to answer corruption charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had charged Salman, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments. “I have nothing to hide or run away from. I am going to challenge every charge to prove my innocence even in the London court,” Salman, who was banned for 10 years by the ICC for spot-fixing, said.

“I don’t agree with the sanctions imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Doha and I will also be going to London to challenge the case made against me by Scotland Yard in the Crown Prosecutor’s office,” he said. The left-hander, who was banned for 10 years with a five year suspension period, also insisted he was confident of making a comeback to cricket.

“Anyone who says my cricket career is over is wrong. I have just turned 26 and even if I have to serve the sanction imposed by the tribunal I will be 30 or 31 when it ends and I will still have four to five years of cricket left in me,” he said. Salman said he hoped he would not have to serve the full five years of his sentence.

“I hope the ban is waived off even if not completely. I have already served six months of suspension. I know it is hard to make a comeback to cricket after five years but you have people playing now at the age of 36 and 37.” Salman said having played international cricket for the last seven years he knew what was required to keep oneself fit and conditioned for top level cricket.

The former Test captain said he did not agree with the tribunal’s decision as the sanction imposed on him was not proportionate with the charges against him and they were lacunas in the existing ICC anti-corruption code and laws.

He said the tribunal head Michael Beloff and members had also advised the ICC to review and amend its existing anti-corruption laws. “That is why I am confident my lawyers are confident that when we appeal to the court of arbitration for sports it will waive off the ban. We hope that the CAS will take notice of the observations made by the tribunal members.”

Salman said he was thankful to the people and former players who had supported him. “I am also not upset with those who did not support me because a lot of people are still not aware what this case is about. The charges of me taking bribes in the Oval Test against England were dropped by the ICC and the interesting thing is we won that match and their was no match fixing or spot-fixing,” he said.


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