Pakistan trio to appeal bans as ICC claims cricket is clean

Chief executive of ruling body believes spot-fixing scandal was an isolated case

As Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir signalled their intention to appeal against cricketing bans for corruption, Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the ICC, defended the world governing body's policing of the game. Lorgat claimed that match fixing in cricket has been "curtailed", while spot fixing, of which the three Pakistan players were found guilty, was far from prevalent.

Speaking in Doha yesterday, the day after an independent panel had delivered its verdict on Butt, Mohammad Asif and Amir, Lorgat said that he "did not believe [spot fixing] is rife". "This is a very isolated case," said Lorgat.

Butt was banned for 10 years, a sentence that effectively ends the 26-year-old's career at Test level, even if five are suspended if he participates in a programme of anti-corruption education run by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Asif, 28, has had two years of his seven-year banishment suspended if he fulfils the same criteria. He too is unlikely to play for his country again.

Amir received the minimum tariff, five years, but the 18-year-old will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Amir said: "Cricket has given me everything and it has been everything and if I don't play it I have nothing. I left education to play cricket and I have nothing other than cricket."

There were claims that the three-man panel, chaired by the QC Michael Beloff alongside Albie Sachs, a South African judge, and Sharad Rao, a Kenyan lawyer, had acted leniently when it came to Amir because of his age. Rao told the News of the World, whose sting last August sparked the scandal: "There is the age of Mohammed Amir to take into consideration. He is a wonderfully talented cricketer and we felt we could end his career. We do not believe this was leniency."

Lorgat believes that the sentences are appropriate. "It will make it extremely difficult for them to return to the Test format," he said. "It is at the prime of their careers that they are faced with punishment.

"My first reaction is one of sadness that we had to go through such an ordeal but I am satisfied we have concluded it. I'm also satisfied that the sanctions delivered are severe enough to send out a clear message that the ICC will not stop short at anything to prosecute any player found wanting in this area of corruption. I don't believe the sentences are lenient by any stretch of the imagination."

Lorgat accepted that the game's image has been "tarnished" but said the manner in which the incident has been dealt with will have repaired the damage. He said: "With the speed with which we have got to this point, the hope is that people realised we are serious about maintaining our integrity and we will do everything to protect that. I hope as a result of what has transpired yesterday the image of the game has improved."

England captain Andrew Strauss supported the bans. "The important thing with any punishment is that it sends out a very strong message to those who might be tempted to do it in the future – that is, you do it, and your career is going to be substantially reduced if not completely destroyed," said Strauss. "It is a good thing the game is starting to clean itself up. I would urge the authorities to be as thorough as they can, because if there is a whiff that something dodgy is going on then that degrades the whole sport."

Corruption has dogged the sport for more than a decade now. Butt is the fifth international captain to be sanctioned this century after Salim Malik, Muhammad Azharuddin, Maurice Odumbe of Kenya and Hansie Cronje. Butt said on his return to Karachi yesterday : "I am innocent. I will not rest until I get the ban overturned. I don't think our arguments were heard properly and the ban is unjustified."

Amir also refused to accept the outcome. "I am innocent and I was confident they would clear me. The ban came as a total shock," he said.

Both players said they would wait to see the full judgement before deciding on the course of appeal to CAS, but the ICC may delay publishing it until after the criminal case against the three players and a UK-based agent, Mazhar Majeed. They have been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat. They deny the charges.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence