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Salman and fast bowler Aamir to appeal

07 February, 2011

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LAHORE: Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt said Sunday he was ‘disappointed’ by a 10-year ban imposed on him by an anti-corruption tribunal and would seek a reduced penalty.

Salman was banned for 10 years, with five suspended, by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, in connection with spot-fixing. The accusations relate to the bowling of deliberate no balls during last year’s tour of England. Teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were handed bans of seven years with two suspended and five years respectively.

On his return to Pakistan here yesterday, Salman told reporters at airport: “All I can say is that I am disappointed with the verdict, but I will only be able to speak at length when a detailed judgement comes. I don’t agree with a 10 year ban and once the rules in the code of conduct are amended, which the head of the tribunal has also requested to be done, then I hope the punishment can be reduced,” he said. Salman said he would sit down with his lawyer to decide appealing against the ban.

“I love cricket, which is my livelihood and will want to resume my career,” he said. Salman and Aamer encountered no hostile reception when they exited the airport and both maintained their innocence. Aamer also said he was “shocked and hugely disappointed” by his punishment. “I wasn’t expecting that much of a ban,” Aamer said, adding he would also consider an appeal. “I am innocent and I was confident they would clear me. The ban came as a total shock,” he said

After a lengthy hearing in Doha on Saturday, tribunal head Michael Beloff said he had asked the ICC to consider amending the code of conduct which currently orders a minimum five-year punishment for corruption in the game. Experts believed Aamer would be handed a lesser punishment as he is only 18 and had not violated the code of conduct in his short two-year career, but the tribunal stuck with the minimum five-year ban. The charges against the three players relate to alleged incidents during a Test match against England at Lord’s last year, when Britain’s News of the World tabloid claimed the players were willing to deliberately bowl no-balls. The newspaper alleged the players had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam organised by British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

On Friday, in a separate development British prosecutors charged the three players as well as an agent with corruption offences and summoned them to appear in court on March 17. The Pakistan trio have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.


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