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PCB challenges reduction of Umar Akmal’s ban in CAS

The Pakistan Cricket Board has filed an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne against the reduction of a three-year ban on batsman Umar Akmal by an independent adjudicator.

Salman Naseer, the PCB chief operating officer, confirmed on Tuesday that the appeal had been filed.

“It was a difficult decision for us to challenge the independent adjudicator’s decision but after going through the final report we had some concerns and we felt the punishment was not enough as there are two charges of violating the anti-corruption code against Umar,” said Naseer.

Former Supreme Court Judge Justice (retd) Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, as the independent adjudicator of the board, had reduced Umar’s three-year ban to 18 months on July 29 for failing to report two corrupt approaches ahead of the 2020 PSL.

Khokar gave his verdict on an appeal filed by Umar against the three-year ban imposed on him in April by the Disciplinary Panel of the board after a couple of hearings.

“We decided to file the appeal with the CAS because when we went through the findings of the independent adjudicator he has noted down firstly he was not satisfied with the Test batsman’s conduct and that it was proven to the hilt that the Test batsman’s statements were self-contradictory and not creditable,” said Naseer.

“But the independent adjudicator also wrote that he was looking at the case on compassionate grounds and gave his decision. To us the main question was should the punishment be reduced on compassionate grounds,” he said.

“We also felt that the punishment for the two charges – 18 months each – should run cumulatively and not concurrently which the independent adjudicator eventually decided on.”

Umar was banned for three years in April by a one-man disciplinary panel of the board after he failed to report two approaches to spot-fix matches in the Pakistan Super League in February.

Naseer said the PCB wanted to give out a clear message of zero tolerance and also wanted some clarity on anti-corruption code clauses.

“We have asked the CAS to appoint one arbitrator instead of three and it is not necessary the hearing should be held in Switzerland; it can be moved elsewhere to make it more cost-effective and not lengthy.”

Naseer said the board’s decision to go to the CAS with an appeal also showed the transparent nature of the entire process of Umar’s case and that the independent adjudicator acted independently.