CAS reduces Umar Akmal’s 18-month ban to one year

Published February 27, 2021
UMAR Akmal gestures during a news conference in Lahore on Friday.—AP
UMAR Akmal gestures during a news conference in Lahore on Friday.—AP

LAHORE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced the ban on Pakistan middle-order batsman Umar Akmal to 12 months but hit him with a hefty fine of Rs4.25 million for breaching the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption code.

The Lausanne-based body announced the verdict on Friday, disposing off the appeals of both PCB and Umar.

Umar was suspended in February 2020 for failing to report details of corrupt approaches made to him just before the start of the fifth Pakistan Super League.

The PCB’s disciplinary panel last April found Umar guilty on two charges of separate breaches and handed him a three-year suspension with the periods of ineligibility to run concurrently.

That ban was halved after Umar appealed to an independent adjudicator, before both Umar and the PCB took the matter to the CAS.

The CAS decision seems like a win-win for both parties. While Umar earned a six-month relief, the PCB has been able to prove that the cricketer was involved in wrongdoing.

The PCB said the 30-year-old Umar would be eligible to compete again after completing a rehabilitation programme.

Talking to reporters at the Lahore Bar Court office, Umar’s lawyer said he had no knowledge of the cash fine and said that the PCB had failed to prove the allegations.

Umar said he was ready to play again.

“I am ready and excited to play cricket again,” he told reporters. “It was tough being out and sitting at home with my bread and butter taken away.”

Asked about his chances of playing for Pakistan again, Umar said: “I don’t want to comment on my national selection. It’s my job to play cricket and perform and it’s up to them [the selectors] — if they think it’s better for the country [to include me], then they will definitely give a chance.”

Umar has represented Pakistan in more than 200 international matches, including 16 Tests, but his career has been plagued by disciplinary problems.

“CAS has confirmed that Umar Akmal is guilty of an offence Under Article 2.4.4 of Anti-Corruption Code as he failed to report the invitation by the bookie,” PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said in a statement.

“CAS modified the sanction imposed by the PCB Adjudicator to 12 month ban and Rs 4.25 million fine. Resultantly the conviction has been upheld.

“Additionally the request of Umar seeking return of his 2 mobiles in custody of PCB (which mobiles are to undergo forensic examination) has been denied. It has been held PCB has power to take mobiles into custody.

“Now being a sanctioned/convicted cricketer if he wants to return to cricket Umar Akmal will have to firstly Under Article 6.7 of PCB

Anti-Corruption Code had to undergo an education/rehab programme to the satisfaction of the PCB Vigilance and Security Department.”

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2021

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