Cricket: Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir To Face Corruption Charges

Richard O'Hagan@@theskiverCorrespondent IIFebruary 4, 2011

Butt arriving for police questioning back in September
Butt arriving for police questioning back in SeptemberPeter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Police in London have announced that former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, along with fast bowlers Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir and agent Mazhar Majeed, will face corruption charges relating to the allegations of match fixing levelled against them during the Lord's Test last year.

The four men were arrested in the days following the Test and questioned at length, but then allowed to leave the country.

No charges have been brought against a fourth player questioned, Wahab Riaz.

The announcement comes just 24 hours before the International Cricket Council is due to announce their own findings following a disciplinary hearing against the three men and it would seem that, if nothing else, a further suspension from the game for the three players is inevitable.

Moreover, the Metropolitan Police and the ICC liaised closely at times during their respective investigations and the timing of the announcement suggests that they have already been advised of the outcome of the ICC hearing.

Conviction would almost certainly result in a jail term for all four concerned and spell the end of the careers of the players, in the same way that it ended Hansie Cronje's a decade ago.

At the time that the original story broke, there was much concern that the 18 year old Amir had been involved in something so sordid, yet there was never much of a suggestion that they hadn't done the things that they were accused of.

The evidence which the three gave at the ICC hearing was intriguing, with Butt effectively alleging that there was a plot against him, Amir flatly denying doing anything wrong but Asif seeming to distance himself from the two and giving the impression that he was admitting everything without actually doing so.

Of course, announcing that you are going to bring charges is one thing; whether any of the players will actually stand trial is another matter.

An initial hearing is scheduled for 17th of March, but as only Majeed is resident in England it is probable that only he will appear at it and that any proceedings will take place in the absence of the other three.