Three-year ban on Umar Akmal reduced to 18 months

30 Jul 2020

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LAHORE: Batsman Umar Akmal (front) arrives with his lawyer at the Pakistan Cricket Board offices on Wednesday.—M. Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Batsman Umar Akmal (front) arrives with his lawyer at the Pakistan Cricket Board offices on Wednesday.—M. Arif/White Star

LAHORE: Accepting the appeal of discarded batsman Umar Akmal, the independent adjudicator of the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday reduced his three-year ban in a disciplinary case to one and a half years on sympathy grounds.

“The self-incriminatory admission by the appellant both in his interview and reply to the show-cause notice regarding the non-disclosure of vital information of approaches made to him about match-fixing on two occasions by two different persons leaves no room for doubt as to the veracity of the charges against him,” said independent adjudicator retired Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, who is also a former Supreme Court judge, while announcing the decision on Umar’s appeal.

“The stance taken by the appellant is self-contradictory and not credit-worthy. The case against the appellant stands proved to the hilt. The learned Chairman [of the Disciplinary Panel] has quite justifiably found the appellant guilty of both the charges,” the adjudicator continued.

“However, whilst taking a compassionate view, the Independent Adjudicator reduced the length of Umar Akmal’s ban to one year and six months. The period of ineligibility imposed on Umar shall run from, backdated to Feb 20, 2020 when he was suspended provisionally,” the judge said in his order.

It may be mentioned here that on April 27, the chairman of the disciplinary panel, retired Justice Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, had banned Umar for three years after finding him guilty of breaching Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-corruption Code in two separate incidents of getting in contact with some suspicious persons but not informing the PCB, thus breaching the above-mentioned clause.

Under Article 7.5.4 of the PCB Anti-corruption Code, an appeal against the decision of the Independent Adjudicator shall lie exclusively before the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

Meanwhile talking to reporters, Umar — known for his discipline-related issues — thanked his legal team for fighting his case. However, the batsman said he was not satisfied with his suspension from cricket.

Umar, 30, said after consulting the family and his legal team he would decide whether to make another appeal against the 18-months suspension.

In similar cases, the right-handed Umar claimed, other cricketers faced relatively lesser punishments.

However here it is pertinent to mention that according to the adjudicator, he reduced Umar’s ban while showing sympathy towards the batsman.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2020