PCB tells banned trio to fight on its own in UK

Karachi, Feb 23 (PTI) Banned by the ICC and facingcriminal charges in England, the trio of Salman Butt, MohammedAsif and Mohammed Aamir have been dealt another blow with thePakistan Cricket Board asking them to fight their legalbattles independently.

Butt, Asif and Aamir have been given clear indications bythe board that it can''t help them out in fighting their casein the magistrate''s court in Westminster on March 17 -- thedate the three have been asked to appear to face the charges.

The Scotland Yard has charged the trio with acceptingbribes and trying to commit fraud and the Crown ProsecutionOffice has sent the case for regular hearing after findingenough evidence to support the allegations.

"The PCB has nothing to do with this case as well as thethree are now banned by the ICC and the PCB being a fullmember of the ICC has to follow the rules and regulations andcan''t provide them with any help or assistance at all in thiscase," a board official said.

He pointed out that the PCB had initially provided legalassistance to the players in London when the Scotland Yardfirst charged them last year in September and the ICC alsosuspended them on spot-fixing allegations.

"But now since the three have been banned and foundguilty by the ICC tribunal the PCB can''t do anything. We hadeven tried to send our observer to the hearing of the tribunalin Doha but this request was not accepted by the ICC under itsanti-corruption code," he said.

He made it clear that the players would have to hirelawyers on their own to defend themselves in the magistrate''scourt next month in London.

"We had hired British barrister, Elizabeth Robertson lastyear to assist them but now if they want they can hire herindependently," he added.

Butt, Asif and Aamir were banned on February 5 by the ICCtribunal and have to file an appeal against their bans withthe international court of arbitration for sports in Geneva byFebruary 26.

But sources said the trio''s lawyers had tried to approachthe ICC tribunal to extend the deadline of 21-days to afterthe magistrate''s hearing in London on March 17.

"So far it is not confirmed if they have got anyextension on filing their appeals against their bans," onereliable source said.

The tribunal banned Butt for 10-years (five years ofsuspended sentence), Asif for seven years and Aamir for fiveyears.

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