November 3rd, 2011
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Spot fixing: Pak players sentenced to jail


London: Southwark Crown Court that found Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt guilty of spot fixing against England has sentenced him to 30 months in prison. Bookie Mazhar Majeed has been sentenced to 32 months in jail. Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been sentenced to one year and six months in jail respectively.

Today, the judge said that the charges against the accused were so serious that only a prison term would suffice. He said the integrity of cricket had been damaged and held Majeed’s corruption far wider than no-balls.

Butt and Asif were convicted earlier this week by a London court, which found Butt guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat and fast bowler Mohammad Asif guilty of conspiracy to cheat. 18 year old Mohammad Amir had pleaded guilty even before trial began yesterday.

Yesterday 12 jurors unanimously found Butt and Asif guilty of conspiracy to cheat. But they took 17 hours to return a 10-2 majority verdict – after the judge said he would allow one – on the charge that that Butt took money to have no-balls bowled during a certain part of the fourth cricket Test against England at Lord’s in August 2010. The jury was hung on that charge against Asif, who bowled the three no balls. Butt and Asif have been accused of conspiring with sports agent Mazhar Majeed to ensure the delivery of three no-balls during the match against England.

The allegations surfaced first after a sting operation by an undercover reporter working for the News of the World tabloid, now shut down, saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets. Majeed was secretly filmed accepting 150,000 pounds ($242,000) in cash from the journalist.

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