Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected the appeals of Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, and Mohammad Asif against the ICC bans they received in 2011 for their part in the spot-fixing scandal.
After a six-day hearing in Doha in the second week of January 2011, an independent anti-corruption tribunal, headed by Michael Beloff QC had handed Butt a 10-year ban from all forms of cricket. Beloff stated that five years of that ban were suspended on condition that, throughout that period, Butt committed no further breach of the code and that he participate in anti-corruption education programmes under the supervisions of the PCB.
Asif was given a seven-year ban, two years of which are suspended with the same conditions as Butt to perform anti-corruption programmes.
Asif wanted the ICC ruling overturned while Butt wanted his banned reduced, but CAS did not find any evidence to support either claim. The appeal panel "was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Asif was a party to the spot-fixing conspiracy."
A statement said: "The CAS Panel found that there was no evidence advanced by Mr Asif which clearly exculpated him and that his submissions did not break the chain of circumstantial evidence or in any way undermine the reasoning contained in the ICC's Tribunal's decision."
In regard to Butt, the CAS statement said: "The CAS panel was not persuaded that the sanction imposed by the ICC Tribunal was disproportionate, nor that any of the mitigating factors advanced by Mr Butt qualified as exceptional circumstances. "
Although there were reports that Butt would continue to assess his options, his lawyer for the CAS hearing, Yasin Patel, said serving the remainder of the ban was all that was left for him although still hoped his client could return to cricket.
"He will have to continue with the five -year ban and less than two-and-half-years is left at the moment. And I hope Salman Butt sees out that time and return back to cricket," Patel told ESPNcricinfo. "Your natural reaction is of disappointment and Salman would be a Superman if he wasn't being that way right now. But it is a time for him and his family to have a bit of time off, reflect on the decision and take it in."
Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, was pleased with the outcome. "The ICC notes and welcomes the decisions of the CAS as they vindicate and confirm the processes and procedures followed by the ICC over the past couple of years in respect of this important, sensitive and high-profile matter.
"The decisions strengthen our resolve to always remain vigilant and keep the game clean at all cost, whilst continuing to educate the players about the threats and ways to combat the challenges faced by our sport."
Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir had been found guilty at Southwark Crown Court in November 2011, on charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments over deliberate no-balls bowled during the Lord's Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010.
Amir, the third player to be caught in the News of the World sting, decided not to appeal against the five-year ICC ban against him. The ban does not permit the players to take part in any official match - international, domestic or club - until at least September 2015.
All three players served time. Butt served seven months of a 30-month prison sentence, Asif was released from Canterbury Prison in Kent on June 3, 2012 after he served half of a year-long sentence while Amir spent three months in a young offenders' institution after admitting his charge at a pre-trial hearing.