PCB to challenge Umar Akmal's ban reduction in Swiss court

Umar Akmal has landed in trouble again Getty Images

A decision by their own independent adjudicator, which reduced Umar Akmal's original three-year ban by 18 months, has now been challenged by the PCB in the Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sports.

Akmal was banned from all representative cricket in April for failing to report details of corrupt approaches made to him ahead of this year's PSL. Akmal accepted the charges pressed against him and said circumstances led to him not reporting it to the board.

"The PCB takes matters relating to anti-corruption very seriously and firmly maintains a zero-tolerance approach," stated an official release into the case. "The PCB believes a senior cricketer like Umar Akmal was aware of the consequences after having attended a number of anti-corruption lectures at domestic and international level. He has witnessed the consequences of indulging in corrupt conduct and still failed to report the approaches to the relevant authorities.

"The PCB doesn't take any pride in seeing a cricketer of Umar's stature being banned for corruption, but as a credible and respectable institution, we need to send out a loud and clear message to all our stakeholders that there will be no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who breaches the regulations."

Akmal's case was sent directly to the PCB disciplinary panel after he opted to forego the right to a hearing before the anti-corruption tribunal. His decision not to do that meant, in effect, that he would accept whatever sanctions Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, the disciplinary committee chairman, imposed on him.

He later filed an appeal against the judgement, making PCB to assign a retired Supreme Court judge, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, to hear his appeal. After the first hearing, the judge reduced his ban on compassion. However, the PCB insists on a stricter punishment as part of their drive against corruption.

"The PCB, in its commitment and drive against corruption in sports, has already submitted a draft proposal with the relevant government authorities around legislation on criminalising corruption in sports," the release further stated. "It has also reviewed the existing legislation enacted within Pakistan whilst noting that the same fail to adequately target and address corruption/illegal manipulation in sports.

"In the draft paper, the PCB has proposed severe sanctions pertaining to corruption, illegal manipulation, betting, match and spot-fixing as well as aiding and abetting such conduct; and proposes the penalties to be imposed on individuals found guilty of engaging in such offences."