Butt, Amir appeals heard in Dubai
The appeals of Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir against the provisional suspensions imposed on them by the ICC for alleged involvement in the spot-fixing controversy were heard in Dubai on Saturday. The hearings, chaired by Michael Beloff, the chairman of the ICC's code of conduct commission, will continue tomorrow when a verdict is expected. The proceedings were long and neither the players nor the ICC addressed the media. Fast bowler Mohammad Asif had also been provisionally suspended but he withdrew his appeal earlier this month.
"The hearings went on all day," Butt's lawyer, Khalid Ranjha, told reporters after the eight-hour session. "It will continue tomorrow. I can't say anything more about the discussions today."
The three players, prior to the suspensions, were charged with various offences under Article 2 of the ICC's anti-corruption code. The suspensions came after the News of the World tabloid claimed to have exposed a scam in which deliberate, planned no-balls would be bowled by Amir and Asif during the Lord's Test against England, with the involvement of Butt, who was then captain.
The hearings will only concern themselves with the matter of the provisional suspensions and whether or not the ICC followed the correct procedures in taking that action. The matter of the players' innocence or guilt and the actual charges against them will not be heard. Thus, even if the suspensions are lifted and the players allowed to return to cricket, a full hearing into the case will still take place later to determine their innocence or guilt in the matter.
Butt is represented in Dubai by his lawyer Aftab Gul, a former Test cricketer, and Ranjha, a former law minister. Butt has spoken to the press, saying he is determined to prove his innocence and questioning the reliability of the sting conducted by News of the World. Amir, who has not made a statement throughout this time, said on departure that he hoped he could return to the side. He will be represented by Shahid Karim, the lawyer who defended Asif in a doping case in October 2006.