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Pakistan trio 'seek delay'

Players in match-fixing probe reportedly seek adjournment of ICC tribunal hearing

Allegations: Butt

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Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have reportedly asked the ICC to adjourn a decision on whether to sanction them for their part in an alleged match-fixing scandal.

On Friday, the trio were summoned to appear in a British court to answer charges that they accepted cash to deliberately bowl no-balls during a Lord's Test match against England last August.

However, the BBC has reported that solicitors for Butt, Asif and Amir are now arguing that any decision from the International Cricket Council's tribunal, which is set be announced in Doha on Saturday, would prejudice the criminal case.

Butt, Asif and Amir - who have already been questioned by Scotland Yard detectives - will be charged with conspiring to cheat bookmakers, along with agent Mazhar Majeed.

Majeed is accused of accepting £150,000 to fix the actions of players.

All four men have also been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Another Pakistan player, Wahab Riaz, was also interviewed under caution but it is understood prosecutors did not consider bringing charges against him.

Majeed will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates Court on March 17, with summonses for the three players issued for the same date.

Hearing

Simon Clements, of the CPS, said: "These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on August 26 and 27 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.

"Mr Majeed has been summonsed to appear for a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on March 17.

"Summonses for the same court date have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year."

He said prosecutors would seek to extradite the players should they fail to return to the UK.

Accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Cheating is an offence under Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. It carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

The allegations, which first surfaced in the News of the World, led to the suspension of Butt, Asif and Amer by both the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board despite their denials.

The ICC's code of conduct commission also rejected appeals by Butt and Amir against their suspensions last November.

A three-man ICC tribunal met for six days last month and is expected to announce its decision on whether the players will face sanctions on Saturday.

The world governing body's code of conduct carries a minimum five-year ban if corruption charges are proved. The maximum punishment is a lifetime ban.