Wayward Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have lost their appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), thus resulting in their bans from cricket being upheld. Ex-Pakistan captain Butt, bowler Asif and team-mate Mohammad Amir were found guilty of â€œspot-fixingâ€ (deliberate bowled no-balls for betting purposes) in 2011. They were subsequently convicted and jailed in November of that year.
Butt, 28, is banned for 10 years by the International Cricket Council (ICC), with five years of the penalty suspended. He is reportedly â€œbitterly disappointedâ€ and his legal team plan to continue to fight the ban. â€œIn the coming days and weeks, we will be exploring every other available avenue,â€ said one of his legal team. Buttâ€™s legal advisor Amer Rahman added: â€œSalman has been in a very dark place over the last few years and he was hoping that he would be successful in this appeal.â€
CAS stated that Butt did not contest his liability in the case but had requested a shortening of the ban, while Asif had request the annulment of the ICCâ€™s decision on procedural grounds. Swing bowler Asif is banned for seven years, two of which are suspended. The CAS statement said: â€œThe 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. 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 Tribunalâ€™s decision. For those reasons, the panel was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Asif was a party to the spot-fixing conspiracy.â€ Amir, who was 18 at the time of the offense, was banned for five years. But, he did not appeal his ban.
â€œAll Salman has ever wanted is to play the sport he loves. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the decision has gone against him,â€ said Daniel Rajah, Buttâ€™s attorney. Butt himself was reflective, and cited the â€œglorious uncertaintiesâ€ that make cricket so great. â€œLooks like I wonâ€™t get to play for another two and a half years, by which time Iâ€™ll be 30,â€ he said, before adding: â€œIsnâ€™t that glorious? Who could have predicted this a few years ago? God, I love this game!â€ Butt reportedly interrupted himself to do a cartwheel out of joy at the sheer thrill of the unexpected, and added: â€œI swear, one day youâ€™re on top of the world, captaining Pakistan and trying to make a little extra cash on the side, and the next, youâ€™re hauled into court for it. Iâ€™ll say one thing about this game: It certainly keeps you on your toes!â€