Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan has termed the decision of International Cricket Council to suspend three Pakistani cricketers with various offences under ICC anti-corruption code for players as unhelpful and premature.Reacting to the issue of notices by the game’s governing body to Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamer, the High Commissioner in a statement expressed his surprise and said the notices have been issued without launch of an inquiry and the charge sheet is based solely on newspaper reports.
“There is a live police inquiry which takes precedence over both the ICC, civil or regulatory investigation and indeed any internal disciplinary investigation. To take action now is unhelpful, premature and unnecessary considering the players had already voluntarily withdrawn from playing which was announced this morning in the presence of entire British media. This announcement was further publicly welcomed by the ECB.”
Hasan further said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat visited him at the High Commission on Thursday evening to say that he intended to issue the notices for explanation.
“He did not say that the players would be suspended. In fact, he was of the opinion that undue pressure should not be put on the team.”
Earlier, the ICC in a statement charged three Pakistan players with various offences under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel relating to alleged irregular behaviour during, and in relation to, the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s last month.
The three players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, have been officially notified of the offences they are alleged to have committed and have been provisionally suspended pending a decision on those charges.
In accordance with the provisions of the code, this means they are immediately barred from participating in all cricket and related activities until the case has been concluded.
The statement said the players have a right to contest this provisional suspension and a further opportunity to defend these charges at a full hearing before an independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal in accordance with Article 5 of the code.
The players have 14 days from their receipt of the charge sheet to indicate their desire for a hearing.Any player ultimately found to be guilty of committing an offence under the code would be subject to the sanctions described in Article 6 of the code. In this case, the alleged offences, if proved, would involve the imposition of a ban. There is also a possibility, at the discretion of the independent tribunal, that a fine would be imposed in addition to a ban.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “We will not tolerate corruption in cricket simple as that. We must be decisive with such matters and if proven, these offences carry serious penalties up to a life ban. The ICC will do everything possible to keep such conduct out of the game and we will stop at nothing to protect the sport’s integrity. While we believe the problem is not widespread, we must always be vigilant.
It is important, however, that we do not pre-judge the guilt of these three players. That is for the independent tribunal alone to decide. -Ftpapp