Karachi, Apr 18: Disgraced Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif on Wednesday (April 17) lost their cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne with the world's top sports tribunal dismissing their appeals against the bans imposed on them in 2011 by the ICC on spot-fixing charges.
Ex-captain Butt and former fast bowler Asif were handed bans of 10 and seven years respectively by the ICC for accepting corrupt payments over deliberate no-balls bowled during the Lord's Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010.
Both had been found guilty at London's Southwark Crown Court in November 2011 on charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Fast bowler Mohammad Aamer was also banned for five years by the ICC on the same charges but he did not contest the decision.
"The CAS has dismissed the appeals filed by the Pakistani cricket players Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt against the decisions taken by International Cricket Council Tribunal on 5 February 2011 in which Mr Asif received seven years ineligibility (two suspended) and Mr Butt ten years (five suspended) following an investigation into spot-fixing in relation to ‘no balls' bowled during a Test Match played in London in 2010," the CAS said.
Sky Sports and the BBC quoted a press release issued by Butt's lawyers as saying he was "bitterly disappointed" with the CAS decision but would continue to fight to clear his name. "In the coming days and weeks, we will be exploring every other available avenue," said a member of Butt's legal team.
"Salman has been in a very dark place over the last few years and he was hoping that he would be successful in this appeal," added legal advisor Amer Rahman.
Despite losing the appeal Butt remained hopeful of making a comeback once his ban ends. "I have high hopes of resuming my career because I am 28 years old and our current captain is 39 and the vice-captain is 33," Butt added, referring to Misbah-ul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez respectively.
The two players had turned to the Switzerland-based CAS in a last-ditch attempt to have their bans overturned, saying they were desperate to return to the game they love. In their CAS case, Butt and Asif maintained that at the ages of 28 and 30 respectively, the suspensions were a career-ending punishment and that they should be given another opportunity to play for Pakistan.
Butt had pleaded that the sanction be reduced to less than five years while Asif had appealed the annulment of ICC's decision on mainly procedural grounds.
Meanwhile, the ICC welcomed the decision of the CAS. ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said the CAS decision "vindicated" the world body's bans on the two disgraced Pakistani players.