Butt, Asif guilty of spot-fixing

Zeenews Sports Bureau

London: Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were held guilty in the spot-fixing case on Tuesday by a London court, making them the first ever cricketers to have been convicted for on-field corruption.

Salman Butt has been held guilty of conspiracy to cheat and accepting corrupt payments while Mohd Asif has been convicted of conspiracy to cheat.

Though the quantum of punishment has not been announced yet, Butt faces a maximum custodial sentence of seven years.

The judge, Justice Cook, is likely to pronounce the sentence on Thursday.

The jury hearing the trial of the accused will soon also reach a decision on the charges of Asif accepting corrupt payments.

The decision came on the 20th day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court and required 16 hours of deliberation by the jury.

Teen pacer Mohammad Aamir, who was also involved in the conspiracy, did not face trial as he had reportedly pleaded guilty.

Butt and Asif were accused of spot-fixing following the infamous Lord’s Test against England in 2010 where they conspired with a bookmaker Mazhar Majeed and fast-bowler Mohammad Amir to bowl no-balls at pre-determined times.

Butt was banned for 10 years, five of which suspended, Asif for seven years, while Aamir was suspended for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board in earlier disciplinary action against the trio.

Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said immediately after today's development that he is happy that the judgments have been delivered quickly.

Reacting to today’s judgment, former ICC chairman Ehsan Mani said that this is the terrible day for him as well as Pakistan cricket. “It’s a confirmation of what we always knew,” Mani added while talking to a news channel.

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