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Salman Butt to "challenge every charge" levelled by ICC, UK Crown Prosecution

Lahore, Wed, 09 Feb 2011 ANI

Lahore, Feb 9(ANI): Disgraced Pakistani cricketer Salman Butt has said he will "challenge every charge" levelled against him by British prosecutors as well as the Anti-Corruption Tribunal appointed by the International Cricket Council, which has imposed a ten-year ban on him in the spot-fixing case.


The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has also charged Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir with "conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat."


Butt said it was wrong to say that he would not go to London, where he had been summoned by the CPS to appear for a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 17.


"I have nothing to hide or run away from. I am going to challenge every charge to prove my innocence even in the London court," the Daily Times quoted the former Pakistan captain, as saying.


Last week, the Anti-Corruption Tribunal imposed a 'sanction of ten years ineligibility' on Butt, "five years of which are suspended on condition that he commits no further breach of the code and that he participates under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board in a programme of Anti-Corruption education."


"I don't agree with the sanctions imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Doha and I will also be going to London to challenge the case made against me by Scotland Yard in the Crown Prosecutor's office," said Butt.


He also insisted that he was confident of making a comeback to cricket even if he had to serve the ineligibility sanction.


"Anyone who says my cricket career is over is wrong. I have just turned 26 and even if I have to serve the sanction imposed by the tribunal I will be 30 or 31 when it ends and I will still have four to five years of cricket left in me," Butt maintained.


He expressed the hope that he would not have to serve the full five years of his sentence, saying: "I hope the ban is waived off even if not completely. I have already served six months of suspension. I know it is hard to make a comeback to cricket after five years but you have people playing now at the age of 36 and 37."


Butt said he did not agree with the tribunal's decision as the sanction imposed on him was not proportionate with the charges against him, and that they were lacunas in the existing ICC Anti-Corruption Code and laws.


He said the head of the tribunal, Michael Beloff, and its other members had also advised the ICC to review and amend its existing anti-corruption laws.


"That is why I am confident my lawyers are confident that when we appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, it will waive off the ban. We hope that the CAS will take notice of the observations made by the tribunal members," Butt added. (ANI)


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