If the Pakistan trio implicated in the spot-fixing case want some good news about their upcoming tribunal that will decide their culpability in the scandal, they wouldn't want to hear what ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has to say. He has come on record to express confidence that the Council had put together a water-tight and fool-proof case against them. The independent tribunal has been scheduled to hear the case of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir from Jan 6 to 11, 2011.
"We've worked hard at collecting all the evidence that we would require to make the charges stand," Lorgat told the BBC.
Queens Council Michael Beloff who presides over the case related to the ICC code of conduct, will hear the tribunal together with other conduct commissioners Justice Sharad Rao and Justice Albie Sachs from South Africa. Lorgat added that if the players were found to be guilty, they would be subjected to the sternist possible punishment."We would want to be proportional but at the same time we do not want to show any leniency," he said. "These are severe issues and integrity of the game is absolutely fundamental and we would not want to tolerate any of that in the sport."
But Lorgat also pointed out that the tainted players would retain the option to challenge the ruling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The News of the World, the tabloid that bought the spot-fixing story to light in August, is also set to participate of the tribunal hearings. The story first appeared in the publication on the third evening of the fourth Test at Lord's between Pakistan and England.
NOTW alleged that the three players were involved in bowling purposeful, pre-planned no-balls in England's first innings. Much of the published story surrounded a video sting operation in which Mazhar Majeed, an agent to the players, was filmed discussing the no-balls and supposedly taking payment for them from undercover reporters posing as a betting racket.
The evidence gathered by the publication was handed to Scotland Yard and the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACSU), who then started off their own investigations and garnered more evidence. The UK's Crown Prosecution Service is currently considering whether the evidence passed on to them by police is adequate to warrant criminal proceedings against accused the trio.
The ICC's reaction was quicker. The Council provisionally suspended the three, soon after the story surfaced. Since then, Butt and Amir have had their appeals against suspensions dismissed by Beloff in a hearing in Dubai. Asif decided not to appeal.