The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced it will file an appeal in the Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sports against the reduction of Umar Akmal’s ban for breaching its anti-corruption code. Last month, an independent adjudicator had reduced the middle-order batsman’s ban from 36 months to 18 months after the player had appealed the suspension’s length.
In April, PCB’s disciplinary committee had banned him for three years. Umar Akmal was slapped with the ban after he failed to report details of corrupt approaches made to him ahead of this year’s PSL. He did accept then that the incidents which formed the basis of the two charges pressed against him by the PCB had taken place, but pointed out that the circumstances were such that they did not merit reporting to the board.
“The PCB takes matters relating to anti-corruption very seriously and firmly maintains a zero-tolerance approach,” stated an official release from the PCB. “The PCB believes a senior cricketer like Umar Akmal was aware of the consequences after having attended a number of anti-corruption lectures at domestic and international level. He has witnessed the consequences of indulging in corrupt conduct and still failed to report the approaches to the relevant authorities.
“The PCB doesn’t take any pride in seeing a cricketer of Umar’s stature being banned for corruption, but as a credible and respectable institution, we need to send out a loud and clear message to all our stakeholders that there will be no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who breaches the regulations,” added the release.
Umar Akmal’s case was sent directly to the PCB disciplinary panel after he opted to forego the right to a hearing before the anti-corruption tribunal. His decision to forego the right to a hearing before the anti-corruption tribunal meant he was ready to accept whatever sanctions imposed on him by PCB’s disciplinary committee.
But after being banned for three years, he had filed an appeal against the judgement. Consequently, PCB had to assign a retired Supreme Court judge, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, to hear his appeal. After the first hearing, the judge reduced his ban on compassion. However, the PCB is not impressed with the turn of events and has made it clear it will challenge the reduction of the ban as part of its drive against corruption.
“The PCB, in its commitment and drive against corruption in sports, has already submitted a draft proposal with the relevant government authorities around legislation on criminalising corruption in sports. It has also reviewed the existing legislation enacted within Pakistan whilst noting that the same fail to adequately target and address corruption/illegal manipulation in sports.
“In the draft paper, the PCB has proposed severe sanctions pertaining to corruption, illegal manipulation, betting, match and spot-fixing as well as aiding and abetting such conduct; and proposes the penalties to be imposed on individuals found guilty of engaging in such offences,” stated the release.