Bangladesh news September 29, 2014

Ashraful's ban reduced to five years

ESPNcricinfo staff

The last two years of Mohammad Ashraful's five-year ban are suspended subject to his participation in a BCB or ICC anti-corruption education and training programme © AFP

Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful has had his eight-year ban for involvement in corruption reduced to a five-year penalty, with two years suspended, by the BCB's disciplinary panel chairman. Ashraful had appealed to the disciplinary panel chief, Justice Mohammad Abdur Rashid, in July, asking that the ban he received a month earlier, for his involvement in match and spot-fixing in the 2013 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, be reduced.

The five-year ban is dated from August 13, 2013. The last two years are suspended subject to his participation in a BCB or ICC anti-corruption education and training programme. "Upon production of a certificate of good conduct from ICC", a BCB release said, he will be eligible to return to cricket "on or about August 13, 2016".

Ashraful, who had admitted to his guilt before being banned, said he was pleased with the result of his appeal. "I had wanted a reduction in the ban similar to what has been given to me, when I had appealed," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I'm very happy, now I can play [sooner]. I should have been punished, yes, but I think this is good for me."

In other decisions taken by the disciplinary panel chief, Sri Lanka slow-bowling allrounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi's 18-month ban, for failing to report an approach, was reduced to one year.

One of the owners of Dhaka Gladiators, Shihab Jishan Chowdhury, who had been found guilty of "being party to an effort to fix" a match in the BPL and handed a ten-year ban, had also appealed. His ban was upheld by the disciplinary panel chief, but the fine of BDT 2 million (US$ 25,000 approx) that went with it was quashed.

However, Salim Chowdhury, the franchise's chairman, who was acquitted of all charges after the anti-corruption tribunal concluded its hearing into the matter, was slapped with a ten-year ban by the disciplinary panel chief. Salim Chowdhury's ban will be dated from August 13, 2013.

Responding to the disciplinary chief's rulings, the ICC and BCB said in a joint statement: "The ICC and the BCB have received the determination and are pleased to note that Shihab Jishan Chowdury's 10-year ban has been upheld, while Salim Chowdhury has now also been found guilty and banned for 10 years.

"In respect of the other findings, the ICC and the BCB are in the process of carefully reviewing the determination, following which they will decide on their next steps, including whether or not to appeal any aspect(s) of the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

Following the BCB anti-corruption tribunal's ruling on the corruption allegations earlier this year, the ICC and BCB had expressed displeasure at some of the results. The BCB had set up the tribunal after the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit had brought to its attention the instances of possible corruption in the BPL. Following its investigation, the anti-corruption tribunal had found Shihab Jishan Chowdhury guilty. Ashraful had confessed and pleaded guilty to wrongdoing before the tribunal's investigation, while Lokuarachchi and New Zealand's Lou Vincent had said they failed to report approaches made to them. Six other players were discharged as not guilty by the tribunal, and Salim Chowdhury as well as the franchise's CEO Gaurav Rawat and bowling coach Mohammad Rafique were acquitted of all charges.

As per the BCB's anti-corruption code, which governs this matter, the next - and final - stage of the appeals process allows an appeal to be made to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

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