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Former Sharjah cricket official Ansari banned from all cricket for ten years

Irfan Ansari, the Sharjah-based cricket coach, whom Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed had reported for making an approach with a view to engaging him in corruption, has been banned from all cricket-related activity for ten years.

Sarfaraz had reported the approach - made during Pakistan's series against Sri Lanka in the UAE in late 2017 - immediately, and after an investigation, the ICC Anti-Corruption Tribunal found Ansari guilty of breaching multiple counts of their anti-corruption code.

Ansari was charged with:

  • Directly soliciting, inducing, enticing or encouraging a participant to disclose inside information.

  • Failure or refusal to cooperate with the ACU's investigation by failing to provide accurately and completely the information and/or documentation requested (including a request by the ACU to take possession of and/or copy or download information from his mobile devices) - this happened twice, in October 2017 and in February 2018.

Though not an active cricketer, Ansari was "bound by the code as a result of his affiliation to the Pakistan cricket team and also as a result of being a coach to two teams that participate in domestic matches in the UAE", an ICC statement said.

Sarfaraz came in for praise from Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager, ACU."I'd like to place on record my thanks to Sarfaraz Ahmed, who showed true leadership and professionalism from the moment he reported this approach," Marshall said. "He recognised it for what it was, rejected it and reported it. He then supported our investigation and subsequent tribunal.

"This is the first time we have prosecuted for failure to cooperate with an investigation since the new rules enabling us to demand the participants hand over their phone for examination and the sanction reflects the seriousness of the offence. It is an important tool to aid our investigations and continue in our efforts to rid the sport of these corrupters."

An important voice in Sharjah cricket, Ansari had been working alongside the Sharjah Cricket Council for the last three decades. He had been in charge of the Al Dhaid Cricket Village, where he mainly helped organise tournaments that take place in the city. He had been the head coach of the Sharjah Cricket Club until he was axed in 2017 as part of a revamp, and had also been actively involved in Sharjah's Ramzan tournaments.