NEWS
01/11/2011 07:46 GMT | Updated 01/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif Guilty In Pakistani Cricket Spot-Fixing Trial

Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif have been found guilty of two charges relating to match-fixing.

Former Test captain Butt, 27, and fast bowler Asif, 28, were found to have conspired to bowl deliberate no-balls in a test match against England in 2010.

Both were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.

During the trial, Aftab Jafferjee QC, for the prosecution, said the investigation "revealed a depressing tale of rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket".

The pair, who could face a jail sentence of seven years, were charged after an undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood of the News of the World, allegedly recorded a sports agent, Mazhar Majeed, offering to rig games for money.

Majeed allegedly said that fixing aspects of a match would cost between £50,000 and £80,000, while fixing results would cost up to £1 million for a five-day Test match.

He then took £15,000 and promised the reporter that Asif and another bowler, Mohammad Amir, would deliver three no-balls at specific points during the Lord's Test.

The no-balls were bowled exactly as predicted. Butt and Asif both said they had no involvement in match-fixing.

But after deliberating for nearly 17 hours a jury unanimously decided to convict the pair of conspiracy to cheat. They also found Butt guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments by a majority of 10 to two. Asif, formerly one of the world’s great bowlers, was also found guilty of accepting corrupt payments after further deliberation.

The pair displayed no emotion as the verdict was read out.

The judge, Justice Cook, is expected to hand down sentences on Thursday. The judgment represents the first time a professional sportsperson has been charged under the 2005 Gambling Act.

Following the verdict, former England bowler Angus Fraser told BBC 5Live that the decision would show "young cricketers that there is a consequence to their behaviour. In the past players have been banned and then they have come back".

Asif Iqbal, the former Pakistan cricket captain, said it was a "sad day for cricket".