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The ICC tribunal hearing into the spot-fixing scandal made public its verdict last Saturday, the 5th of February 2011.
The youngest of the lot, Amir, was sentenced to a five year involuntary hiatus from the sport.Asif and Butt were handed seven and 10 year bans, with two and five years suspended sentences. In effect, all three cricketers have been suspended from the game for a minimum of five years.
The players have been indicted under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
The relevant section of the code states:
“2.1.1 Fixing or contriving in any way or otherwise influencing improperly,or being a party to any effort to fix or contrive in any way or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any International Match or ICC Event.”
The ICC Code stipulates a minimum five years and a maximum life-time ban in cases of corruption.
There was never any doubt as to the authenticity of the tapes submitted as evidence. The only real interest was whether Amir would be let off relatively lightly taking into consideration his young age.
The judgement has not yet been made public. There exists the small complication of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service taking more than an avuncular interest in the matter.
Were there any extenuating circumstances in the case? The answer to that will have to wait.
The sentenced are free to appeal their case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
While it is regretful that the beautiful game is robbed of the talents of these young men, the onus is on the respective cricket boards to ensure that the game retains its sanctity at all levels; values have to be inculcated together with the skills required to excel at the game.
Sport is but a microcosm of life.The spot-fixing scandal exposed the sordid side.
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