Asif could be asked to pay legal expenses

June 22, 2008

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LAHORE, June 21: Controversial fast bowler Mohammad Asif may be asked to pay for the legal expenses incurred by the Pakistan Cricket Board while defending him against allegations of possessing an illegal substance, PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf said on Saturday.

Asif returned to Pakistan on Friday following a 19-day detention at Dubai airport where he was being investigated for allegedly carrying 0.24g of a banned substance in his wallet. During his detention, the PCB had appointed a reputed legal team to defend him.

Speaking at a press conference at the National Cricket Academy following the PCB’s governing board meeting Dr Nasim said that a regional secretary from Sialkot had moved that doping offences should be met with no compromise, and that all expenses be borne by the player in question.

Dr Nasim said: “We debated this idea. When the fact finding committee releases its findings in two weeks’ time, I will inform the board. The final decision would rest with the board.”

He added that the PCB would dedicate more resources to anti-doping awareness in domestic cricket and would also launch an anti-smoking campaign.

Asked whether the emotional apology Asif offered to the nation at Lahore airport on Friday amounted to an admission of guilt, Dr Nasim stated that the PCB was not yet in a position to assess the player’s innocence or guilt but was pleased he had returned home after a long ordeal.

He did not comment on the possibility of the PCB lodging a protest with the UAE authorities if they found the player to be innocent.