Spot-fixing controversy November 3, 2011

Sentencing remarks of Justice Cooke

ESPNcricinfo staff
56

Sentencing remarks of Justice Cooke in the spot-fixing trial involving Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Mazhar Majeed

1. The gravamen of the offences committed by all four of you is the corruption in which you engaged in a pastime, the very name of which used to be associated with fair dealing on the sporting field. It's not cricket was an adage. It is the insidious effect of your actions on professional cricket and the followers of it which make the offences so serious. The image and integrity of what was once a game, but is now a business is damaged in the eyes of all, including the many youngsters who regarded three of you as heroes and would have given their eye teeth to play at the levels and with the skill that you had. You procured the bowling of 3 no balls for money, to the detriment of your national cricket team, with the object of enabling others to cheat at gambling. Now, whenever people look back on a surprising event in a game or a surprising result or whenever in the future there are surprising events or results, followers of the game who have paid good money to watch it live or to watch it on TV, in the shape of licence money or TV subscriptions, will be led to wonder whether there has been a fix and whether what they have been watching is a genuine contest between bat and ball. What ought to be honest sporting competition may not be such at all.

2. In Pakistan, where cricket is the national sport, the ordinary follower of the national team feels betrayed by your activities, as do your fellow countrymen in this country. You Butt, Asif and Amir have let down all your supporters and all followers of the game, whether suborned by you, Majeed, or more than willing co- conspirators. Whilst those involved in unlawful betting in this country where the market is regulated, may not deserve much sympathy, and the evidence was that betting on no balls only occurred in unlawful markets, mostly abroad, where betting on cricket may not be allowed at all, the effect of what you were seeking to do was to defraud bookmakers, whether licensed or unlicensed and whether carrying out lawful or unlawful bookmaking in the country in question, where public policy may differ from this country. If other fixes were to be done on less esoteric events than no balls, such as brackets, then it is certain that they would affect lawful betting. Your motive was greed, despite the high legitimate rewards available in earnings and prize money.

3. I bear in mind that this was a sting by the News Of The World (NOTW), but that does not render your culpability any the less, once it is recognised that you were involved in discussing such activities outside the scope of the sting, as it is clear that you Majeed, Butt and Amir were. Though no cheating bets were placed by reason of the information given to the journalist, the intention was that they should be and if information was supplied to others, as it was, that could only have been for one purpose.

4. These offences, regardless of pleas, are so serious that only a sentence of imprisonment will suffice to mark the nature of the crimes and to deter any other cricketer, agent or anyone else who considers corrupt activity of this kind, with its hugely detrimental impact on the lives of many who look to find good honest entertainment and good-hearted enjoyment from following an honest, albeit professional sport.

Mazhar Majeed

5. You have pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy:

5.1. first - conspiracy corruptly to give Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Amir money as an inducement to identify in advance occasions during the Test Match series between Pakistan and England when they would play in a specified manner.

5.2. Secondly - conspiracy to do acts to enable others to cheat at gambling by identifying those occasions to others including the NOTW journalist so that those individuals you thought were part of his betting syndicate could win money by betting on the occurrence of those events.

6. In your basis of plea, you asserted that your actions related solely to the arrangement of the bowling of no balls and that some of what you said to the journalist with regard to previous spot or match fixing was untrue and merely designed to impress him and attract his confidence. I refused to accept that basis of plea.

7. In consequence I gave you the opportunity to give evidence in a Newton hearing on these issues, but you have since accepted that your part in the conspiracy covered not just the no balls actually bowled at Lords but wider events at Lords and the Oval.

8. Whilst others have described you as a blagger and your own counsel now says, along with other defendants, that much of what you said to the Journalist is not to be believed, the fact remains that, in your meetings with him, you spoke of your involvement in spot fixing and match fixing and of the players you managed in the Pakistan team and your ability to use the three players before me in such activities, naming others also who are not before the court. You said it had been going on for years. The fact that of the £150,000 that you actually received, only £2500 in marked notes was found in Butt's possession and £1500 in Amir's possession, together with the evidence of payment of £13,000 into Butt's bank account and some £23,000 into your company's accounts, suggests that you took the lion's share of the cash paid by the journalist, notwithstanding what, through your counsel, you have now said about its distribution. Moreover, what the court has mostly been concerned with here- the arrangement of three no balls- is only part of the corrupt activities in which you have been involved.

9. On the evidence, you were not only responsible for arranging with Salman Butt, and directly or indirectly with Amir and Asif, for the 3 specified no balls in the Lord's test which were actually bowled, (2 on the 26th and one on the 27th August2011 but you also agreed with Salman Butt:

9.1. for Salman Butt to bat out a maiden over at the Oval test match on 21 August on the first full over that he faced that day

9.2. for a second no ball to be bowled by Amir on 26th August, when he was first to bowl round the wicket, which did not occur that day, and was then replaced by agreement that evening by the no ball actually bowled by him on the third ball of the third full over that he bowled on 27 August . You agreed this with Salman Butt and either directly or indirectly with Amir.

10. You told the journalist that you had been fixing things with the Pakistani team for about two and a half years, though your counsel now says that the suggestion of spot fixing first came up in June 2009. I can give little credence to anything said by your counsel on your instructions to this court and approach what you said to the Journalist with more than a pinch of sale, as it was sales talk to gain his confidence to part with money, of which you were short at the time.

11. What is clear however is that you were involved in fixing not only with the journalist but with others during the period covered by the Indictment. Whether or not what this court has had to consider is just the tip of an iceberg, is not for me to say and lies beyond the scope of the evidence I have heard, but, even allowing for your "sales talk" to the journalist, I am sure that there was an element of truth in what you said about past fixing.

11.1. You were paid £150,000 for information given and to be given in the future.

11.2. It was agreed that the journalist would pay you £10,000 for each no ball identified to him in advance - or at least £20,000 for 3 no balls, of which he paid £10,000. Bets could be placed on these no balls in unlawful markets, mostly abroad, based on inside advance knowledge of what was going to happen.

11.3. It was agreed that he would pay £150,000 as a deposit (of which he paid £140,000) from which you would draw down for information to be given to him in respect of brackets - the number of runs to be scored or wickets taken (or rather runs or wickets given away) in a specified number of overs and information about the scoring rate involved, on which bets could be placed, in both lawful and unlawful markets.

11.4. It is clear from the telephone schedules that you were in touch with contacts in India and Dubai and were passing on information relating to the Oval and Lord's test matches in relation to gambling activity there. I find that this was all part of your corrupt activity because you were intent on passing the same information about fixed events to different people so they could place bets based on them in different markets- Dubai, India, and as you thought, the Far East where the journalist said his punters were involved. There is evidence of a telephone call, conducted in the presence of the journalist where there was discussion of $1m changing hands. You told the journalist that it would cost £50-80,000 to fix a bracket, £400,000 to fix a 20/20 match result, anything between £300,000-£450,000 to fix a one day international and £1m to fix a test match. The fact that you could talk in these terms to someone who was, as you thought, prepared to put up that sort of money, lends credence to your knowledge or involvement in matters of that kind and your confidence in your ability to do so for him. You were not seeking simply to con him out of money but to start a long term corrupt relationship with future exchanges of money for information given, in the same way as you must have made arrangements with your Dubai and Indian contacts. On your say-so, individuals in India were making £40,000-£50,000 on each identified no ball. On three no balls therefore the bookmakers stood to lose £150,000 on each bet by a cheating punter.

12. Your position as manager to half a dozen members of the Pakistan team and your close friendship with Salman Butt, who became the captain on July 16th 2010, meant that you and he together were in a position to influence other players in the team as you did. Whereas the defendant players present have already been the subject of an ICC arbitration and have suffered bans which significantly affect their cricket playing careers and their future earnings, which I will bear in mind when I come to sentence them, you stand alone as a non player, who decided, according to an email exchange with your brother in February 2010, to make as much money as you could from the game of cricket- by corrupting those involved.

13. I take into account everything said on your behalf and the character references produced which speak well of you as a good family man and a man who has made significant contributions to your local community.

14. You were agent of the players and to that extent were trusted by them, and obtained for them legitimate contracts of sponsorship as well as being the source of illegitimate earnings for them. It was through Salman Butt that your influence over them was largely gained and you and he were the architects of the fixing of which the court has heard, procuring the other two defendants to do what they did.

15. I give you full credit for your plea, which the Prosecution accepts was entered at the first effective opportunity.

16. I have considered the guidelines for any analogous offences such as fraud on insurers and the sums of money involved here. You, of the four defendants, gained the most from these offences-it would appear, well over £100,000, quite apart from the $1m referred to in the phone call, which may or may not ever have materialised. Notional punters stood to gain sums in excess of £150,000 from cheating when gambling on 3 no balls and more in respect of a maiden over. It is hard to assess the amounts of money of which persons might have been but were not defrauded in the gambling industry, by virtue of information given to the journalist and to say whether or not any money was made as a result of the information given to the Indian and Dubai contacts, of which there is no evidence. The extent of your gain remains unclear.

17. There is no distinction to be made in respect of the two charges you face and the sentences I impose will be concurrent sentences in respect of each, limited to the period of the indictment, but bearing in mind the fact that the journalist' sting was not an isolated event.

18. If you had not pleaded guilty the sentence would have been 4 years on each count. In the light of your plea, the sentence on each count, to run concurrently is one of 2 years and 8 months.

Salman Butt

19. You have been convicted by the jury on two counts:

19.1. First - conspiracy to accept corrupt payments for identifying in advance occasions when 3 no balls would be bowled in the Test match at Lords on 26 and 27 August last year and procuring the bowling of those no balls by your two fast bowlers, Amir and Asif

19.2. Secondly - conspiracy to do the same acts in order to enable others to cheat at gambling.

19.3. I sentence you for matters covered by the narrowed indictment alone, relating to the no balls in the Lord's test match, but I cannot ignore the fact that these were not isolated incidents.

20. It is clear to me that you were the orchestrator of this activity, as you had to be, as Captain, in arranging for these bowlers to be bowling the overs which were identified in advance to Majeed and which he identified to the NOTW journalist. You were a natural captain, picked out as such from the age of 17 for national teams, and had the advantage of a good education. You were a man of status. As I have already said, you bear the major responsibility for the corrupt activities, along with Majeed. The evidence of the text exchange between you and Majeed in the West Indies in May 2010 shows your involvement in such activities outside the scope of the period covered by the indictment.

21. I sentence you in respect of the no balls bowled at Lords alone but bear in mind your prior agreement in respect of the maiden over at the Oval, of which telephone evidence was heard, as well as the West Indies exchanges.

22. Because of your leadership status, your direct involvement with Majeed and your key role in directing the corrupt activities, you are more culpable than either of your two bowlers.

23. I consider that you were responsible for involving Amir in the corruption - an 18 year old from a poverty stricken village background, very different to your own privileged one, who, whilst a very talented bowler, would be inclined to do what his senior players and particularly his captain told him, especially when told there was money in it for him and this was part of the common culture. For an impressionable youngster, not long in the team to stand out against the blandishments of his captain would have been hard. It appears that the corruption may have been more widespread than the defendants here before me, and may have permeated the team in earlier days, though I have seen no direct evidence of that. If that is the case, you, as Captain, perpetuated such an atmosphere of corruption and would be responsible for it and for the desire to use Majeed and his contacts to make money for yourself and others in the team.

24. In the words you used to the jury- what you did was a terrible thing- it is bad for the game of cricket, bad for the country and shows the character of the man involved. Not only were you involved but you involved others and abused your position as captain and leader in doing so, bringing to bear your considerable influence on Amir at the very least.

25. I have taken account of all the matters I referred to when sentencing Majeed and the difficulties in assessing the amounts of money of which persons might have been defrauded, as well as the gain to you from what you did, which remains unclear.

26. You do not have the advantage of a plea. You have been subjected to a ban on playing cricket for 10 years, of which 5 are suspended. You will be 31 or so, when the active part of that ban comes to an end and you will have lost some of the best years of a batsman's life as well as the years of captaincy. Your playing career may well be at an end for all practical purposes.

27. I bear in mind all that has been said on your behalf and the domestic circumstances outlined to me. You have been very good to your family and you have now a second child, born yesterday to your wife in Pakistan. I have well in mind the financial support you have given to your family and all the other matters raised in the letters produced to the court.

28. I take fully into account the ICC ban and the effect it has on you, which in itself is a considerable punishment for a man in your position. This enables me to take a more lenient course, than I otherwise might. But for that ban, the sentence would have been of the same order as that which I would have imposed on Majeed if he had not pleaded guilty. You do not have the benefit of a plea but the effect of the ban on you is such that I can reduce the sentence I would otherwise have imposed to 30 months imprisonment.

Mohammad Asif

29. You have been convicted of the same 2 offences as your captain Salman Butt. You do not have the benefit of a plea but your culpability is less than his, both because of his key role as captain and orchestrator along with Majeed and because your participation in this conspiracy was limited to the bowling of one no ball.

30. Whilst no marked NOTW money was found in your possession, the jury have found that you conspired to accept money in the same way as your captain. You bowled a no ball in order to obtain payment and in order to assist others to cheat at gambling. If it was £10,000 for a no ball, you would have got a share of that sum, allowing for a cut for Salman Butt and Majeed. The sums of money of which others could have been defrauded, for the reasons I have already given cannot be accurately calculated.

31. There is no evidence of any prior involvement on your part in such activities but it is clear that Majeed had every confidence in you playing your part when identifying the no ball that you would bowl on the 26th August. It is hard to see how this could be an isolated occurrence for you either.

32. I sentence you in respect of your agreement to bowl that no ball, again bearing in mind all the factors I have mentioned before in sentencing today.

33. I take account of all that is said on your behalf and in particular I bear in mind the 7 year ICC ban imposed last year, of which 2 years are suspended, and its effect on your career as a fast bowler now aged 28, which means that your cricketing career is effectively over. This in itself is a considerable punishment for a man in your position. This enables me to take a more lenient course, than I otherwise might. That is the punishment imposed by the cricket authorities but these crimes of which you have been convicted require that a sentence be imposed which marks them for what they are and acts as a deterrent for any future cricketers who may be tempted.

34. In your case there will be concurrent sentences of 1 year's imprisonment on each count.

Mohammad Amir

35. You have pleaded guilty to the same two offences as those of which Asif has been convicted. I give you full credit for that plea, which the Prosecution accepts was entered at the first real opportunity. Following the ICC arbitration in Doha, where you contested the allegations, you made it clear to the cricket authorities that you accepted your responsibility for what you had done, despite the situation in which you found yourself where, it seems, activity such as this was widespread. It took courage to do so, as appears from the information I have been given about pressures you faced.

36. You pleaded on a basis which I refused to accept - namely that your only involvement in spot fixing was at Lords on 26th and 27th August and that you only became involved as a result of pressure (not amounting to physical threats) and influence to the effect that if you did not become involved, it would have serious professional implications for your future career.

37. I therefore gave you the opportunity of a Newton hearing but you decided not to give evidence of the pressure to which your basis of plea referred. You have referred, in material presented to the court, to threats to yourself and your family, saying that there are significant limits to what you can say in public. The reality of those threats and the strength of the underworld influences who control unlawful betting abroad is shown by the supporting evidence in the bundle of documents, including materials from the Anti Corruption and Security Unit of the ICC.

38. You agreed to bowl 2 no balls on the 26th August, of which you bowled one, before the rain set in and then agreed that evening to bowl another on 27th, which you duly did. They were the largest infringements of the front foot rule seen by experienced test cricket observers. The Umpire could not have missed them.

39. I take into account all the factors I have already mentioned when sentencing Asif and all that has been said on your behalf.

40. You come from a village background where life has been hard and you struggled with serious back problems to reach the peak you did when bowling for Pakistan. Compared with others, you were unsophisticated, uneducated and impressionable. You were only 18 at the time and readily leant on by others. I am clear that you bear less responsibility than your captain who influenced you in the manner to which I have earlier referred.

41. But you agreed to do this for money and £1500 of NOTW marked money was found in your possession.

42. Moreover the fact remains, that there is evidence, in the shape of texts and telephone calls with a Pakistani number of your involvement in discussions about fixing brackets at The Oval during the period of the indictment, though there is no evidence that such fixing actually occurred. That discussion did not relate to Majeed. The 2 no balls you actually bowled cannot be seen in isolation from this prior discussion.

43. I take account also of the 5 year ICC ban imposed last year, and its effect on your career as a fast bowler now aged 19, which will create problems for you in returning to play when the ban expires. That is the punishment imposed by the cricket authorities but these crimes of which you have been convicted require that a sentence be imposed which marks them for what they are and acts as a deterrent for any future cricketers who may be tempted, notwithstanding the mitigation which I have heard.

44. If you had not pleaded guilty you would have received concurrent sentences of 9 months' imprisonment on each offence. As you did plead the sentence will be 6 months in each case.

45. Each of you will serve half the time imposed in custody and then you will be released on licence. If you breach your licence or commit any other offence, you may be brought back to serve the remainder of your sentence. Your counsel will explain the effect of this to you, if you do not understand.

46. I make no orders for compensation as I consider that the NOTW got what it bargained for when paying the £150,000 in question.

47. I order each of the defendants to make the following contributions towards the costs of the Prosecution:

47.1. Amir £9,389 - payable forthwith as it is in the possession of the police

47.2. Asif £8,120 - ditto

47.3. Butt £30,937 - ditto

47.4. Majeed £56,554 - payable within 6 months of today's date.

48. The transcript of my sentencing remarks can be obtained from the judicial website.

49. Thanks to Counsel and Press.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Haleos on November 4, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    @davidpk - spot on mate. But ICC is spineless. Hope I am proved wrong.

  • kristee on November 4, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    It's said that it's unprecedented in sports. There are much more popular games. So why at all it became so severe in cricket alone? The hypocrites and cowards this game nurtures do worry me! Much more than the three apparent scapegoats!

  • abdubaba on November 4, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Also, regardless of whether the sentences were harsh or lenient, they were not fair in their entirety. To explain what I mean: Pleading guilty, having a ban imposed on you by the ICC, not being a master mind and finally being young and impressionable were plus points in the eyes of the Judge and these plus points helped in the reduction of the various sentences handed out by the Judge. Salman Butt had the ICC ban as a plus, reduction of sentence by 68.75%. Asif had the ICC ban and not being a master mind as a plus, reduction of sentence by 87%. Mazhar Majeed had the guilty plea on his side, reduction of sentence by 67%. Amir, however, had all four on his; the guilty plea, the ban, not being a master mind, being young and impressionable and yet his sentenced only got reduced by 67%. Same as Mazhar Majeed's. He should have gotten time served.

  • abdubaba on November 4, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Yaay for cricket and it's integrity! 3 players convicted on spot fixing and sentenced too! No, really, I'm happy about it. Not overjoyed that the three imprisoned are from my country, but it's a step in the right direction. However, I'm going to reserve my judgement whether this first step will be followed by a second and a third and whether this step can turn into a full blown walk against spot and match fixing. Realistically speaking, for the next year (max) the fixers that be will lie low and try not to attract attention to their wheeling dealing but since there's money to be made in this business (40 billion annually) and somebody's gotta make it, things will resume and I hope and I pray that when things resume, the ACSU or some other intrepid go getting investigative reporter can catch some more players and maybe some of those players won't be Pakistanis. Cause hey? We're not the only ones who do it. But I won't hold my breath.

  • Gully_11 on November 4, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Its such a big shame...There are many youngsters in Subcontinent who have immense talent, and wait for their turn to represent their country. These guys got a chance and ruined every thing for themselves for the country and the confidence of their country men...The verdict is absolutely perfect..no sympathy what so ever..good

  • on November 4, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Will Amir be able to play after serving his tern in Jail???

  • on November 4, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    So, so sad. Asif & Amir were shaping up to be just what Pakistani cricket needed after a decade in the wilderness, but now the genuine class they showed will be forgotten & their names will be forever tarnished. I know how passionate Pakistani fans are about their cricket, & my heart goes out to them now, as well as to the greats of Pakistani cricket such as Imran, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Wasim, Waqar, Younis Khan, Afridi & Shoaib, who all must feel now that *their* deeds have been belittled by the shame that has enveloped Pakistani cricket as a whole. The three players in question - as well as the others who have yet to be brought to book for their crimes - have cheated not only the game of cricket, but also lifelong supporters such as us; most tragically of all, though, they have cheated themselves.

  • on November 4, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Will they be able to play once they get out of Prison?????

  • on November 4, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    Mr Monty Spot on mate while I agree with the case against Butt and Asif. . Amir is an 18 yo and was instructed on threat of dismissal. Its sad that a nation of such talent is wasted in such a manner, and although he will have a career at some point I fear he will never be the bowler we have seen. To be frank though this is not about CLEANING up the sport. . .its about media coverage. . . The fact that News of the world is involved stinks to high heaven. And yes I remember there was a case where Mark Waugh and the great Shane Warne had recieved money from a bookmaker for "weather conditions". . . I dont think so.

  • mrmonty on November 3, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    I have no sympathy for Butt and Asif, but my heart goes out Amir. 6 months for an 18-year old for following the diktat of your captain, who can throw you out at the next simplest excuse! Given we are talking about Pakistani cricket, where even the best performers are dropped at the whim of the captain/coach/admins. Now that this investigation is over, let's reopen the Warne/Mark Waugh case. Ohhh. Ooops. Can't touch the high and mighty.

  • Haleos on November 4, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    @davidpk - spot on mate. But ICC is spineless. Hope I am proved wrong.

  • kristee on November 4, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    It's said that it's unprecedented in sports. There are much more popular games. So why at all it became so severe in cricket alone? The hypocrites and cowards this game nurtures do worry me! Much more than the three apparent scapegoats!

  • abdubaba on November 4, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    Also, regardless of whether the sentences were harsh or lenient, they were not fair in their entirety. To explain what I mean: Pleading guilty, having a ban imposed on you by the ICC, not being a master mind and finally being young and impressionable were plus points in the eyes of the Judge and these plus points helped in the reduction of the various sentences handed out by the Judge. Salman Butt had the ICC ban as a plus, reduction of sentence by 68.75%. Asif had the ICC ban and not being a master mind as a plus, reduction of sentence by 87%. Mazhar Majeed had the guilty plea on his side, reduction of sentence by 67%. Amir, however, had all four on his; the guilty plea, the ban, not being a master mind, being young and impressionable and yet his sentenced only got reduced by 67%. Same as Mazhar Majeed's. He should have gotten time served.

  • abdubaba on November 4, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    Yaay for cricket and it's integrity! 3 players convicted on spot fixing and sentenced too! No, really, I'm happy about it. Not overjoyed that the three imprisoned are from my country, but it's a step in the right direction. However, I'm going to reserve my judgement whether this first step will be followed by a second and a third and whether this step can turn into a full blown walk against spot and match fixing. Realistically speaking, for the next year (max) the fixers that be will lie low and try not to attract attention to their wheeling dealing but since there's money to be made in this business (40 billion annually) and somebody's gotta make it, things will resume and I hope and I pray that when things resume, the ACSU or some other intrepid go getting investigative reporter can catch some more players and maybe some of those players won't be Pakistanis. Cause hey? We're not the only ones who do it. But I won't hold my breath.

  • Gully_11 on November 4, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    Its such a big shame...There are many youngsters in Subcontinent who have immense talent, and wait for their turn to represent their country. These guys got a chance and ruined every thing for themselves for the country and the confidence of their country men...The verdict is absolutely perfect..no sympathy what so ever..good

  • on November 4, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Will Amir be able to play after serving his tern in Jail???

  • on November 4, 2011, 3:46 GMT

    So, so sad. Asif & Amir were shaping up to be just what Pakistani cricket needed after a decade in the wilderness, but now the genuine class they showed will be forgotten & their names will be forever tarnished. I know how passionate Pakistani fans are about their cricket, & my heart goes out to them now, as well as to the greats of Pakistani cricket such as Imran, Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Wasim, Waqar, Younis Khan, Afridi & Shoaib, who all must feel now that *their* deeds have been belittled by the shame that has enveloped Pakistani cricket as a whole. The three players in question - as well as the others who have yet to be brought to book for their crimes - have cheated not only the game of cricket, but also lifelong supporters such as us; most tragically of all, though, they have cheated themselves.

  • on November 4, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Will they be able to play once they get out of Prison?????

  • on November 4, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    Mr Monty Spot on mate while I agree with the case against Butt and Asif. . Amir is an 18 yo and was instructed on threat of dismissal. Its sad that a nation of such talent is wasted in such a manner, and although he will have a career at some point I fear he will never be the bowler we have seen. To be frank though this is not about CLEANING up the sport. . .its about media coverage. . . The fact that News of the world is involved stinks to high heaven. And yes I remember there was a case where Mark Waugh and the great Shane Warne had recieved money from a bookmaker for "weather conditions". . . I dont think so.

  • mrmonty on November 3, 2011, 18:49 GMT

    I have no sympathy for Butt and Asif, but my heart goes out Amir. 6 months for an 18-year old for following the diktat of your captain, who can throw you out at the next simplest excuse! Given we are talking about Pakistani cricket, where even the best performers are dropped at the whim of the captain/coach/admins. Now that this investigation is over, let's reopen the Warne/Mark Waugh case. Ohhh. Ooops. Can't touch the high and mighty.

  • Nutcutlet on November 3, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    @ amclean: Whatever legitimate ways the ACSU can use to root out corruption must be used. It is all a matter of will/determination. The best source of information is whistle-blowers, of course. Then,through vigilance and competent police investigation that is mobilised when alerted, perpetrators can be apprehended, even if it takes time. This is far more likely to happen in a functioning and law-abiding country and therefore I am far from happy with the way in which you imply that Pakistan's legal system could deliver justice in a similar manner to that which has just been witnessed in Southwark Crown Court! I think we all know that there are, er, certain differences between the two countries. I need not say more. Cricinfo, pls publish!

  • on November 3, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    the biggest sad thing for me is that every body involved in this is a pakistani.. the agent, the players and the journalist. what a shame for my country. i live in a country where cricket is totally unknown to the local people but still there were many questions asked from me today after people read the news paper. sad very sad

  • on November 3, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    i feel really bad for muhammad amir . he was classik like steyn

  • on November 3, 2011, 18:03 GMT

    i think......players shd b banned for life time... aamir s sentence is fine.. but i think butt and asif sentence shd b longer than majid... and thx to british court...if this case can b held in pak or india............do i need to say tht they ll b free as innocent...lolz... hope it wll improve cricket culture in sub continent..........

  • on November 3, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    This kind of punishment should have started with Azaruddin

  • on November 3, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    amazing verdict. .really appreciate it

  • samincolumbia on November 3, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    6 months is a complete joke!! ICC is toothless and should have handed life bans!!

    A crook like Amir should never be playing professional cricket again!!

    Hope they will continue with the investigation and soon lay charges against the Akmal brothers and Wahab riaz!!

  • D.S.A on November 3, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    The sentences are a complete joke. If the maximum they all could have got was 9 years in prison (4.5 in reality of course, which is also completely laughable), then what would warrant somebody getting this sentence? Surely they did as much as necessary to warrant to harshest punishments available..but no...they are sportsmen, so they have got away with lenient sentences, which are actually double the amount of time they will actually serve. How can Amir possibly plead guilty and still protest against the sentence? As Amir is STILL Pakistan's future, he will soon be representing them, perhaps by the end of 2013, when the ICC also buckle. In summary, the repercussions of spot-fixing are disproportionate and a complete joke.

  • amclean on November 3, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    @Nutcutlet - "Now, the baton passes to the ICC" and there are plenty of prominent cricketing figures saying the ICC should have done more in the case of the three players. What exactly should the ICC do? The whole point illustrated by this Court case is that the ICC doesn't have any real remit to act when it comes to criminal activity. However, the police and the court systems do have such power - here in England, in Pakistan, everywhere. It is the countries themselves that have laws to uphold, for example the UK's 2005 Gambling Act, as Andrew Miller has pointed out. The ICC can assist, but they'll never be accountable for not uncovering criminal activity.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 3, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    A period of confinement in a jail in a foreign country for someone accostumed to the trappings of stardom is going to have a huge impact on them. What side would want to contract them to play when they come out later and theiir bans end? If anyone else gets involved in corruption after seeing this outcome they would have to be crazy, or very sure that they will not get caught.

  • on November 3, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    I am very satisfy to see the players being punish for there crimes, I am also thankful to Egnlish justice system for there honest investigation, if the same case was in Pakistan the players would have been vindicated respectfully.

  • Stark62 on November 3, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    I think the judge is confused about reality and sports!

    Yes, they did spot-fixing (not match-fixing which is worse) but at the end of the day have they physically harmed the public to warrant a jail sentence?!?!

    Jail time is way too harsh but a better punishment like a ban for life would have been better because they didn't harm the public.

    Sports doesn't effect lives (only if you're an idiot)!!!!

  • Commenter123 on November 3, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    News of The World did at least one good thing before going down. Paragraph 2 is enough to justify all the sentences handed to these players.

  • on November 3, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    Justice is served. What about the NOTW journalist? he should be brought to the court too. Why he wanted the players to be involved????

  • on November 3, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Well with this Judgment n all the course of trial, i cannot forget 3 more matches, the one Pakistan lost in Sydney, in Dunedin and 2 years back against Srilanka when they were chasing 150 odd runs, No wonder why Kamran Akmal, Muhammad Yousaf, Wahab Riaz and Danish Kaneria are not playing.

  • on November 3, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    The honourable judge put it so succinctly: Cricket, "which was once a game, now a business". With all its accompaniments and frailties. What a fall, my fellow cricket lovers! Show me a place to hide for a while, till the shame is at least partially washed off...it will never fully be! All our arguments, sometime jovial, sometime vitriolic.. were all indulged in earnestly believing that it was really cricket that we were watching, enjoying, commenting, and now lamenting! Oh, my God, save our souls, for getting at each others' throats believing that it is and was all real!

  • AJJ2 on November 3, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    This is the BEST thing that has happened to Pakistan Cricket. For years and years we have always suspected foul play and now we can put away the cheats. Finally, we may have a team that we can trust. Hopefully any others thinking of following in this lifestyle will need to have a serious re-think! It should also be noted that there have been implications against other unidentified player(s). I have no sympathy for these cheats/traitors ...I only have sympathy for the fantastic supporters of Pakistan who have been so badly betrayed.

  • The_big_j on November 3, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    It actually looks like they didn't have much evidence against Asif. He did not have NOTW money nor did he text or called majeed brothers, kind've give me the feeling he was the one who actually got trapped into this by Butt. Oh well... I feel justice has been done and Judge Cooke gave the right decision.

  • Jim27 on November 3, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    well ... i simply agree with Claremont7...

  • saadmohsin on November 3, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    They got what they deserved... but i feel gutted. i can't imagine what their family and friends would be going through... or for that matter what they themselves would be going thru... because these are not hardened criminals... just ordinary people who forgot their values. But what i am really curious to know is the whereabouts of the ICC's Anti-corruption unit? it seems the players were leaving so many traces that they could have been caught by a deaf and blind person with just a little bit of investigation. So why couldn't the anit-corruption unit identify anything. if a person carries 15 sims and 4 mobiles, he should seem suspicious. If ICC is serious about rooting out corruption, then it really needs to ask tough questions from its anti-corruption unit... unless it thinks that these 3 players were the only fixers in the game, and that all other players in all other teams play only cricket

  • on November 3, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    i have sympathy for these player's family as they are sufferiiing it without any crime but what is done is for the betterment of the game CRICKET... once called the game of gentleman...!!!!!!! GOOD to see judge remarks about amir it shows his maturity & sensiblity...!!!! i think amir should plea for mercy from the ICC now his ban really should be reduced to half...!!!!! i m not sayiiing that he is innocent but he simply is young & illeterate , the culprit behimd his scene is butt so he should be given leneancy..............!!!!!! may Allah give thier parents courage to survive in this tough tym...............!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on November 3, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Disappointed that it ever got to this. Disappointed that despite having no extradition treaty Pakistan allowed itself to embarrased like this - surely they could have punished them at home?

    Disappointed that those who are pulling the strings are laughing all the way to the bank in bombay and Dubai. Disappointed that for "2500 Amir has destroyed what would have been a brilliant career. Disappointed that for no money received Asif has put to an end of what was a superb bowler. Once again this case has shown it is the educated people like Butt who have tarnished themselves and their compatriots.

  • Nutcutlet on November 3, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    It is impertinent to comment on the severity or otherwise of the learned judge's sentencing of these three: they are what they are. Now, the baton passes to the ICC - and specifically, the ACSU. They have much work to do, and the international cricketing fraternity, from test captains, their national selectors and managers, to the humble fans handing over his and her hard-earned at the turnstile, TRUSTING that they will be entertained by honest competition, treated to high skill and sportsmanship in all its forms, should expect nothing less. The work of the ACSU should be ever vigilant, eagle-eyed and conducted with the relentlessness of a trained blood-hound in the long grass. In short, they will need to work like they have never worked before! If they fail, professional cricket - whether domestic or international - might as well pack its bags. Cricket will have ceased to be a game in any meaningful sense. Theirs is a huge responsibility. Be strong! Be fearless, ICC/ ACSU!

  • bumsonseats on November 3, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    i see no point in reducing the period of amir i know hes young but the word has to go out, that whatever age if you do wrong and get caught u have to pay the price.dpk

  • bumsonseats on November 3, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    during the case asif was mentioned that he was to be given a larger sum of money because there was a chance he would go with another bookie. i did not hear anything again mentioned about this. the icc said the bans will be left as they are, this cannot be correct ?. if this case had not been brought to court would the icc have reduced the bans ?. if when the bans are finished will they then be selected for their country. and will they be allowed entry to eng, aus nz, im not sure of the other icc countries. would they be allowed to tour as criminals re visas is a condition of entry or non entry to that country. the icc should be or will have to be more proactive if there are others in this case who have not been brought to justice. my own thought is if you have been proved guilty as these 3 are you should never play cricket again full stop. the icc have for once to show that they are the rulers of this great game and act for the betterment of the game. dpk

  • on November 3, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    It is a sad day for Pakistan cricket. I would like to leverage this opportunity to clean up the game in pakistan. Maybe ask these players to come clean and share what else they know to reduce their sentences. Just a thought...might help the ICC to clean up the game.

  • triassicpark1 on November 3, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Spot on Y2SJ. LMAO. But you are right. Full amount of gate collection. But having said that the contribution they have to pay towards the trial is quite significant. Not to forget travel to UK, boarding and lodging and solicitor's fees............ Butt will truly be a pauper. Does he have more money to fight the appeal!!! quite interesting to see if he will appeal.

  • Angad11 on November 3, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    Unsophisticated and uneducated, no wonder Amir got sold for 2500. How cheap is that.

  • Srini_Indian on November 3, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    @Sriram Venkataramani: Is Hussey one of the game greats? LOL.. He is a good player but a light year away from being called as great!!!

  • BWSHAH1976 on November 3, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    I am so sick and tired of everyone wanting to give Mohammed Amir some leniancy. For what? If he came from such a humble background, that should've made him more matured than his actions suggest. I came from a similar background and I was mature like an adult when I was 15. You grow up real fast and recognize right from wrong at an early age when you have such upbringing. The guy cheated and he stole from all of us, the cricket following fraternity. Stop treating him as if he has done something heroic.

  • farshori on November 3, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Could someone please remind the honourable Justice Cook that the national sport of Pakistan is Hockey not Cricket.

  • on November 3, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    Brilliant decision imo.... perhaps even lenient... hopefully, pakistan cricket can now redeem itself

  • sandwipcricket on November 3, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    " No cheating" allowed in cricket.it will be example. we love cricket and those guy hurt us. Why News Of The World repoter allure them? why reporter approac for them? there are lots player in the cricket world. why reporter targeted Pakistan's best bowler. it may be kind of conspirosy. i love cricket and hate who fix, consprior.

  • on November 3, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    yes The judgmental day was today as promise

  • on November 3, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    I am sure that no any Pakistani player will try such crime again. Now they are sentenced I wish them calm and pray for their coming days behind the bars, In quran written " ikhd-e nasay ra-tul Mustaqeem", " make me to move on the right way"

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    It should have been longer sentence for each one. All these players come from a region where people are generally not well-off but very hard working. Many of my friends saved their time and money to watch cricket . These players cheated with millions of people. These players were well off unlike millions others who have to work hard even to get their everyday food, yet they took the chances to become rich. In future these players should not be picked when they come back.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Cricket has been redeemed, very mature pronouncements by trial judge. this serves as an active deterrent...

  • allblue on November 3, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    No sympathy for the guilty, except perhaps for Amir who was a boy in a crooked man's world. The problem is that we know this is not the full extent of this cancerous corruption, although hopefully the prospect of loss of career and prison if caught will change the risk/reward equation and act as a deterrent. What we need now is for the ICC to take on the role of a proper, responsible governing body with the interests of the whole cricket world its sole focus. Countries with a First Class structure but weak economy are vulnerable and need financial support to ensure that a player can earn a decent living playing the game at the level below the international arena otherwise the temptation to take dirty money will still be strong. The cricket world needs to show solidarity with Pakistan cricket now, because they have so much to offer and we can ill afford to lose them. A sad day for cricket.

  • Claremont7 on November 3, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    The judgement is right and the sentences are fair. The costs awarded, I wonder if they would be able to pay. The judge and the court clearly understand their means. ICC in the case of Amir should follow the example of the Judge and reduce his period of ban by half. I hope some leniancy should be taken for his talent and age.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Sad sad day for world cricket. Salman and Asif should have plead guilty - which would have slightly improved their already tarnished image. I hope this trial and subsequent sentencing serves as a deterrent to rest of the cricketing fraternity. Mohammad Amir is not so naive as portrayed. 18 is a very decent age to understand the implications of your actions. He was an outstanding player, who outthought game greats like Michael Hussey. For him to be part of this horrible sting is really unpardonable. I pray to the almighty to usher peace and courage to the families of Salman, Asif and Amir back in Pakistan to help them ensure this tough and painful situation.

  • Y2SJ on November 3, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    Should have been 6 years for Butt and Asif. Should have been 3 years for Ameer and Majeed. They should have been fined the gate collection in Lords on those two days as those were the people cheated first handed.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    sad to see pakistan cricket on this..The board that has produced legends, some never surrendering heroes is now have to face these kind of people too...

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    should have been longer jail sentances

  • on November 3, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    I love the comments made by the judge on Pakistan and Pakistan Cricket and it shows his maturity and understanding of this case. But I think Majeed and Butt deserve more than that. Anyway, hoping after this controversy and this verdict, no player will ever try to get involved in all that.

  • on November 3, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    A statement made for future .

  • KMalik on November 3, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Sad but satisfying day for Pakistan cricket.culprits get what they deserved.Best sum up by judge

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  • KMalik on November 3, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Sad but satisfying day for Pakistan cricket.culprits get what they deserved.Best sum up by judge

  • on November 3, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    A statement made for future .

  • on November 3, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    I love the comments made by the judge on Pakistan and Pakistan Cricket and it shows his maturity and understanding of this case. But I think Majeed and Butt deserve more than that. Anyway, hoping after this controversy and this verdict, no player will ever try to get involved in all that.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    should have been longer jail sentances

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    sad to see pakistan cricket on this..The board that has produced legends, some never surrendering heroes is now have to face these kind of people too...

  • Y2SJ on November 3, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    Should have been 6 years for Butt and Asif. Should have been 3 years for Ameer and Majeed. They should have been fined the gate collection in Lords on those two days as those were the people cheated first handed.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Sad sad day for world cricket. Salman and Asif should have plead guilty - which would have slightly improved their already tarnished image. I hope this trial and subsequent sentencing serves as a deterrent to rest of the cricketing fraternity. Mohammad Amir is not so naive as portrayed. 18 is a very decent age to understand the implications of your actions. He was an outstanding player, who outthought game greats like Michael Hussey. For him to be part of this horrible sting is really unpardonable. I pray to the almighty to usher peace and courage to the families of Salman, Asif and Amir back in Pakistan to help them ensure this tough and painful situation.

  • Claremont7 on November 3, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    The judgement is right and the sentences are fair. The costs awarded, I wonder if they would be able to pay. The judge and the court clearly understand their means. ICC in the case of Amir should follow the example of the Judge and reduce his period of ban by half. I hope some leniancy should be taken for his talent and age.

  • allblue on November 3, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    No sympathy for the guilty, except perhaps for Amir who was a boy in a crooked man's world. The problem is that we know this is not the full extent of this cancerous corruption, although hopefully the prospect of loss of career and prison if caught will change the risk/reward equation and act as a deterrent. What we need now is for the ICC to take on the role of a proper, responsible governing body with the interests of the whole cricket world its sole focus. Countries with a First Class structure but weak economy are vulnerable and need financial support to ensure that a player can earn a decent living playing the game at the level below the international arena otherwise the temptation to take dirty money will still be strong. The cricket world needs to show solidarity with Pakistan cricket now, because they have so much to offer and we can ill afford to lose them. A sad day for cricket.

  • on November 3, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Cricket has been redeemed, very mature pronouncements by trial judge. this serves as an active deterrent...