London: The action by the International Cricket Council on three Pakistani players implicated in a `spot-fixing` scandal was the first time the world body has suspended cricketers under its Anti-corruption Code.
The provisional suspension was handed under Article 4.6 of the Anti-corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel which came into force on October 6 last year after it was updated and approved by all ICC member nations.
Under the Code, the three Pakistan players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif -- cannot play any cricket.
They will also be prevented from participating or being involved in any "other kind of function, event or activity (other than authorised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programmes) that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by the ICC, a national cricket federation or any member of a national cricket federation".
An ICC press release, however, said the three players had been charged with "various offences under Article 2" of the Code "relating to alleged irregular behaviour during, and in relation to, the fourth Test".
The Code also provides for an independent panel to investigate the matter, which cannot include the member country involved -- in this instance, Pakistan.
According to the Code, a charge is laid and a suspension decided upon only after the ACSU`s general manager consults with the ICC`s chief executive and the head of the legal department.
Any player ultimately found to be guilty of committing an offence under the Code would be subject to the sanctions described in Article 6.
If the alleged offences are proved the players could be handed a ban. At the discretion of the independent tribunal, a fine would be imposed in addition to a ban.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat announced that the players would have 14 days to respond to the charges.
The players can contest their suspensions under the system of a provisional hearing. The burden will rest on the ACSU to establish a "strong, arguable case" for the charges made against the players, which in the circumstances could have "seriously undermined the integrity of the sport".
A full hearing will have to be convened within three months of the imposition of the provisional suspension, after which the player can apply to the ICC Code of Conduct Commission for his suspension to be lifted.