Spot-fixing controversy August 30, 2010

Lorgat promises strong action against fixers

Cricinfo staff

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, has promised "prompt and decisive" action if any players are found guilty of spot-fixing following the allegations that emerged during the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's.

Previous investigations into corruption, including the Qayyum report in 1998 which looked into a number of former Pakistan players, have been slammed for not being firm enough and ridding the game of match-fixing. ICC have said they will let the police investigation take its course but are determined to come down hard on offenders.

"Make no mistake - once the process is complete, if any players are found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is handed out," Lorgat said. "We will not tolerate corruption in this great game.

"The integrity of the game is of paramount importance. Prompt and decisive action will be taken against those who seek to harm it. However, the facts must first be established through a thorough investigation and it is important to respect the right of due process when addressing serious allegations of this sort."

However, the ICC's own code sets out a variety of punishments that can be enforced ranging from a five-year ban to life depending on a number of factors.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are alleged to be among those involved in spot-fixing scams exposed by the News of the World which involve bowling no-balls at specific moments during the Test. The trio, who travelled to Somerset with the rest of the Pakistan squad on Monday ahead of Thursday's match against Somerset, have had their mobile phones confiscated by police while Mazhar Majeed, the man at the centre of the newspaper sting, has been released on bail pending further questioning.

"Currently, senior ACSU investigators are in the United Kingdom conducting enquiries into the allegations directed at some Pakistan players during the recently concluded Test against England at Lord's," Lorgat said. "That investigation has the full support and co-operation of the ECB and PCB. In addition, ACSU officials are assisting London's Metropolitan Police with their criminal investigation.

"All allegations of betting irregularities or fixing of matches or incidents within matches are investigated thoroughly by the ICC's internationally respected Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) and this case is no different."

Meetings have been going on throughout the day to determine the fate of the Twenty20 and one-day internationals due to start next week but at the moment officials insist the games will go ahead. Investigators from Pakistan have flown into the UK and Sharad Pawar, the ICC president, said he expected initial reports in the next few days.

"Until and unless the British authorities complete the investigation, which we hope will be done in two-three days, and establish there is prima facie case, it is difficult for the PCB to take appropriate action," Pawar said after a teleconference with ICC officials, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt and ECB chairman Giles Clarke. "ICC is waiting for the British police to complete investigation. ACSU is also looking into the details. It is also preparing a report in two to three days. The report by British Police and ACSU will give us a proper picture."