Lahore: The prospect of expelling Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt as an International Cricket Council (ICC) Director was reportedly raised at the ICC board meeting in Dubai last week.
Well-placed observers believe that Butt was compelled to accept a series of wide-ranging measures for reforming the beleaguered Pakistan cricket setup without protest because the only alternative would have been to face expulsion, the Daily Times reported.
The possibility is believed to have been raised by an individual member and not the ICC, it added.
There were concerns over a specific potential conflict of interest in the spot–fixing scandal, in which three Pakistan players are allegedly involved.
The PCB and Mohammad Asif, one of the three players implicated in the scandal, are using the services of the same London-based lawyer, which, according to the ICC code of ethics for directors, could be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
This particular spur, however, is merely part of a much broader canvas of the cricket world’s discontent with Butt, the paper said.
Last month, a sports channel had reported that the possibility of suspending the PCB chief had crossed the minds of officials who were unhappy with the way Butt had reacted to the spot–fixing crisis, and then acted with the ICC and other boards, like the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The focus of the two-day board meeting was on anti-corruption and, in particular, concerns over the present condition of Pakistan cricket. At its conclusion, the ICC set an ultimatum to the PCB to implement a series of effective anti–corruption measures in its domestic set-up within 30 days.
“There will be greater scrutiny and monitoring of the way the game is governed in Pakistan now,” an official familiar with the brief said.
The measures have to be completed within the 30-day deadline, failing which, theoretically, a range of sanctions is available.
Action can be taken against Butt’s position on the ICC board and financial sanctions can also be applied, withholding prize money from ICC tournaments, for example, the paper said.
The worst–case scenario, “the last resort,” as one official put it, would be to suspend Pakistan’s membership.
“Usually there are various stages to go through when suspension becomes an issue, as was the case with Zimbabwe… Task forces do their work, there is much discussion, fact–finding trips are made and so on,” an ICC-watcher said.
“But in this case, such is the situation and the concern over Pakistan that things could move quickly. You need a 75 percent majority to suspend a member so where is the support for the PCB? The threat of suspension is very real,” he added, emphasizing the grim situation for Pakistan.