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April 13, 2013
'The punishment seems appropriate'
Nadeem Ghauri, the Pakistan umpire, has been handed a four-year ban by the PCB after its integrity committee found him guilty of being willing to accept money for favourable umpiring decisions. His colleague Anis Siddiqi was banned for three years.
The allegations against the umpires first came up after a television sting operation last year. The PCB set up an inquiry committee soon after and passed on its findings to the board's integrity committee to determine the punishments.
The sting, broadcast by India TV, claimed to have "exposed" several first-class umpires from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan who were allegedly willing to give decisions favouring players for a fee. In the sting, conducted in July and August 2012, the reporters claimed to belong to a sports management company and promised the umpires officiating assignments in events of all kinds around the world, largely domestic Twenty20 leagues.
A PCB release detailed the decisions of the integrity committee which included PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf. It explained why the board was harsher on Ghauri, who has stood in five Tests and 43 ODIs. "Mr. Nadeem Ghauri being a former Test cricketer and also elevated to the elite panel of umpires of ICC and PCB's International panel (with 13 years standing) straight away agreed to extend undue favours for material gains."
The ruling on Siddiqi was a bit more lenient. "Mr. Anis Siddiqui being only a domestic umpire with lesser experience of only eight years did not straight away fall prey to the undue suggestions made by India TV Sting Operatives and kept on resisting their undue demands repeatedly, but finally conceded to them on their persistence. Keeping in view his limited exposure to International Cricket and Codes of Conduct, his case is of mitigating circumstances."
The PCB studied the raw, unedited footage of the operation from India TV, besides evidence from the ICC and investigated it with the help of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency .
The Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka boards announced investigations following the broadcast of the sting operation in October. The Bangladesh umpire Nadir Shah was handed a ten-year ban by the BCB last month. The SLC began its investigation into the matter in October but hasn't yet announced their findings.
The Pakistan board has endorsed the recommendations of the integrity committee. "The PCB has a zero-tolerance policy for corruption or indiscipline," the chairman Ashraf said. "We are committed on creating awareness amongst our players and officials with regards to the possible pitfalls, and are determined to adopt all vigilance and security parameters, which are in line with the laid out procedures of the ICC. Today's decision reiterates the commitment of the PCB to keep our great sport free of all corrupt practices."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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