4 Feb 2011

Pakistani cricketers to be charged with cheating

Three Pakistani cricketers are to be charged with conspiring to cheat bookmakers during a Test match at Lord’s, as Carl Dinnen reports.

Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Aamer, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are to be charged with cheating (Getty)

Cricket players captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer will now go to court, following a police inquiry into claims that they accepted money to deliberately bowl no balls.

Agent Mazhar Majeed has also been charged with conspiracy to cheat by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS said all four men are to face charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments. They are due to appear in court on 17 March.

Sting operation

The developments follow a News of the World sting operation in August in which the newspaper said a middleman had been paid £150,000 to fix the timing of no balls during the final Test of the four-match series at Lord’s.

The suggestion was that bets would be placed on when these no balls would be played. The three cricketers were accused of taking bribes to bowl the no balls.

CPS spokesman Simon Clements said today: “Mr Majeed has been summonsed to appear for a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 17 March.

“Summonses for the same court date have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year. Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return.”

Majeed, who lives in this country, is accused of accepting cash to ask players to deliberately bowl no balls during their tour of England.

Butt, Asif and Aamer were suspended by the International Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board, but denied wrongdoing.

An ICC tribunal will announce tomorrow if the players will face further sanctions.

The law

Accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Cheating is an offence contrary to Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. It carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.