Posted 2/6/11 : Friday's announcement by the International Cricket Board that significant bans had been handed out to cricketers involved in a betting scandal has again reinforced the message that corruption will not be tolerated in sport.
The bans have been imposed on three Pakistan cricketers found guilty of corruption by an ICC tribunal in Doha, Qatar last week.
Former captain Salman Butt was banned for 10 years (five years suspended), Mohammad Asif for seven years (two suspended) and Mohammad Amir for five years.
The players, along with agent Mazhar Majeed, will also face criminal charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, which will are to be heard in London.
All three players were suspended provisionally last September after the News of the World newspaper alleged they were involved in spot-fixing – bowling no-balls to order for betting syndicates – in the fourth Test against England at Lord's. The three players have strenuously denied all the claims.
The ICC tribunal consisted of Michael Beloff QC, Sharad Rao and Justice Albie Sachs, and arrived at its verdicts and sanctions following a six-day hearing.
The bans follow an announcement just over a week ago by IOC president Jacques Rogge that he was calling a Lausanne summit of sports bodies and governments to consider urgent action to defend competitive credibility against the malign influences stemming from betting schemes.
In related news from India, it has been revealed that three bookies have been arrested after taking bets on the match between Pakistan and New Zealand on Saturday. Police raided a flat in the Vijay Nagar area and confiscated betting chits, cellphones and other equipment.
Major online betting companies like Betfair have in the past repeatedly condemned corruption in sport, and have assisted sports bodies and corruption investigators by flagging suspicious wagering activities noted on their websites.