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ICC promise 'zero tolerance'

Governing body determined to stamp out corruption

Lorgat: ICC chief executive

Lorgat: ICC chief executive

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The International Cricket Council has warned the Pakistan cricketers at the centre of corruption allegations they face swift and firm punishment if the claims against them are proved.

The ICC has not suspended any of the players concerned, meaning as it stands they could line up against Somerset on Thursday and against England in a Twenty20 international on Sunday.

"The integrity of the game is of paramount importance," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

"Prompt and decisive action will be taken against those who seek to harm it.

"However, the facts must first be established through a thorough investigation and it is important to respect the right of due process when addressing serious allegations of this sort.

"Make no mistake - once the process is complete, if any players are found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is handed out. We will not tolerate corruption in this great game."

Newspaper claims

The remainder of the tour was placed in question following allegations in the News Of The World that seven members of the team - including captain Salman Butt, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and seam bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - were involved with illegal betting syndicates.

Mazhar Majeed, a known associate of the team, was arrested and then bailed without charge yesterday as part of a Scotland Yard investigation, while Butt, Asif and Aamer had their mobile phones confiscated.

But with the eyes of the cricketing world on the team on Monday, they travelled from London to Somerset, ahead of the tour match at Taunton.

There were audible, but isolated, shouts of abuse from at least one member of the public as the team departed, and when they arrived at their hotel the tour party left the bus without answering questions from reporters.

The News of the World allegations against the tourists are wide-reaching - starting with suggestions of 'spot-fixing' no-balls in the fourth npower Test against England at Lord's and going as far as citing fixed matches in the past and looking ahead to the forthcoming one-day series.

Lorgat detailed the latest ICC position in a statement following talks on Monday with high-ranking officials from the England and Pakistan camps.

He said: "The International Cricket Council, England and Wales Cricket Board and Pakistan Cricket Board are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket.

"All allegations of betting irregularities or fixing of matches or incidents within matches are investigated thoroughly by the ICC's internationally respected anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) and this case is no different.

"Currently, senior ACSU investigators are in the United Kingdom conducting enquiries into the allegations directed at some Pakistan players during the recently concluded Test against England at Lord's.

"That investigation has the full support and co-operation of the ECB and PCB. In addition, ACSU officials are assisting London's Metropolitan Police with their criminal investigation.

"Led by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the ACSU is the most respected and experienced such unit in world sport and it has at its disposal a robust and far-reaching anti-corruption code that all ICC members support and are bound by."

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