Spot-fixing controversy November 13, 2010

Salman Butt's lawyer withdraws from fixing case

ESPNcricinfo staff

Aftab Gul, Salman Butt's lawyer, has withdrawn from the spot-fixing case against his client. "I don't think the suspended players will get justice, so I have withdrawn," Aftab said.

The ICC had on Friday set up a three-man tribunal to hear the spot-fixing allegations against Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif from January 6 to 11 in Doha, Qatar. The panel is headed by Michael Beloff QC, the ICC code of conduct commissioner, who had earlier rejected the appeals of Butt and Amir against their provisional suspension following the allegations. This had led the players' lawyers to raise objections on Beloff's presence in the tribunal.

"It is no use fighting this case because the ICC tribunal has already decided what to do. Having this hearing is all a drama," Aftab said, according to the Dawn.

Khalid Ranjha, another of Butt's lawyers, told Dawn that Beloff had already showed his intention by rejecting the appeals. However, Shahid Karim, Amir`s lawyer, said he was ready to defend his client in the final hearing even if their objection against Beloff`s presence was not accepted.

The three players were provisionally suspended by the ICC in September for their alleged involvement in the spot-fixing controversy during the Lord's Test. In a News of the World sting, Mazhar Majeed, a player agent, claimed to have paid Amir and Asif to bowl no-balls to order with the collaboration of Butt. The players lodged appeals against their suspensions, though Asif eventually withdrew his, and they were heard in Dubai in October. Beloff, who chaired the hearing, rejected their appeals, following which the PCB proceeded to revoke their central contracts.

The hearing of the appeals was only meant to establish whether or not the ICC followed the correct procedures in provisionally suspending the players, and not their innocence or guilt. The trio face the possibility of criminal charges in the UK, and evidence gathered by Scotland Yard has been passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service.