In the Media

Pakistan spot-fixing players and agent sentenced to lengthy jail terms

PUBLISHED November 3, 2011

? Salman Butt jailed for two years and six months ? Agent Mazhar Majeed handed longest sentence Three cricketers and a sports agent convicted of plotting to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England last summer as part of a lucrative betting scam have been handed custodial sentences. The judge, Mr Justice Cooke, ruled at Southwark crown court in London that the offences committed by the former Test captain Salman Butt, the fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif and agent Mazhar Majeed were "so serious that only imprisonment will suffice". Majeed was jailed for two years and eight months, while Butt was sentenced to two years and six months. Asif was jailed for one year, and Amir for six months. All are likely to serve half their sentences before being released on licence. Butt, Asif and Majeed are expected to begin their sentences at Wandsworth prison in south London, while Amir is due to be sent to Feltham young offenders' institute. However, his barrister, Henry Blaxland QC, said he intended to apply for bail pending an appeal against his sentence. The three players were caught after an undercover News of the World reporter recorded Majeed, 36, boasting how he could arrange for Pakistan cricketers to rig games for money. The agent was secretly filmed accepting ?150,000 in cash from the journalist. In his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Cooke said: "The gravamen of the offences committed by all four of you is the corruption in which you engaged in a pastime, the very name of which used to be associated with fair dealing on the sporting field. 'It's not cricket' was an adage. It is the insidious effect of your actions on professional cricket and the followers of it which make the offences so serious. "The image and integrity of what was once a game, but is now a business is damaged in the eyes of all, including the many youngsters who regarded three of you as heroes and would have given their eye teeth to play at the levels and with the skill that you had ? "Now, whenever people look back on a surprising event in a game or a surprising result or whenever in the future there are surprising events or results, followers of the game who have paid good money to watch it live or to watch it on TV will be led to wonder whether there has been a fix and whether what they have been watching is a genuine contest between bat and ball. What ought to be honest sporting competition may not be such at all." All four were ordered to pay contributions towards the costs of the prosecution, ranging from ?8,120 to ?56,554. Pakistan spot-fixing: the judge's full verdict Pakistan cricket betting scandal Pakistan cricket team Cricket Crime © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds