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Reaction to Pakistan cricket spot-fixing verdicts

image captionMohammad Asif and Salman Butt will be sentenced later this week

Three Pakistan cricketers have been jailed for their part in a "spot-fixing" scam following the verdict of a corruption trial in London.

Former captain Salman Butt, 27, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, were both found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Another bowler, Mohammad Amir, admitted the charges before the trial.

They plotted to deliberately bowl no-balls during a Lord's Test match against England last summer.

Following the verdict, leading cricketing figures said the scandal had "tainted" cricket and they were concerned that match-fixing in the sport could be even more widespread than was already known.

Calls were also made for the International Cricket Council to carry out more in-depth investigations into fixing allegations. And the Met Police and Crown Prosecution Service said the trio had let down the cricketing world and its fans.

Haroon Lorgat, International Cricket Council chief executive

"I am satisfied that we have worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police throughout this entire process, and I believe that this case has shown that it is possible for criminal authorities and sports bodies to cooperate with each other, in difficult circumstances, in the best interests of the sport and the public at large.

"I would reiterate, as I have on every occasion that I have spoken on this matter, that the ICC has a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption and that we will use everything within our power to ensure that any suggestion of corrupt activity within our game is comprehensively investigated and, where appropriate, robustly prosecuted.

"We have always said that we will continue to explore every possible avenue to ensure that cricket is free from corrupt activity. That is precisely what we have done in this case."

Mazher Mahmood, News of the World journalist who uncovered scam

"I am naturally pleased by today's verdicts. It is a sad day for cricket but a good day for investigative journalism.

"These three players have betrayed their fans, their fellow professionals, their sport and their country.

"I hope that the cricketing authorities will take this opportunity to tackle the issue of illegal gambling in the sport and do everything in their power to regain the trust of millions of cricket supporters.

"Rumours of corruption in cricket had swirled around for years but it took investigative journalism to fully and finally expose it. I hope that the use of investigative journalism as a force for good will be borne in mind by all interested parties over the coming months.

"I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my colleagues at the News of the World for their diligence and support during this investigation. I hope, like me, that they derive some satisfaction from the fact that, as a result of these verdicts, cricket is a cleaner sport."

Dickie Bird, retired international umpire

Mr Bird said betting scams were "like a cancer" and would "eat the game away".

"I won't say there have been shortcomings but they have got to look at it now and get a grip on world cricket," he said.

"I never thought I would live to see this day. Never. I cannot think this is happening to our game."

Angus Porter, chief executive, Professional Cricketers' Association

The Pakistan match-fixing scandal has had a "major impact" on world cricket, according to the body representing past and present first-class cricketers in England and Wales.

Mr Porter said: "There are still a lot of questions about the extent to which any players in the game are being exposed and rooted out and, indeed, whether this is a one-off linked to a newspaper sting.

"It has been an important case, but nobody should take the view one way or another that this case has been a major breakthrough. It was, in my view, a one-off case."

He added: "We should not take that as meaning that we have got a grip on the situation. We should not feel reassured by a case like this.

"My hope is that everybody continues to work together to ensure the game is as free of corruption as it can be."

John Emburey, former England spin bowler

Mr Emburey said the Pakistan fixing revelations had changed cricket forever and warned that they could be "the tip of the iceberg".

He said: "I think that world cricket has been tainted by these incidents and one never knows if it's actually ever going away.

"The players are very well paid and you would imagine they would not be persuaded into being pulled into a thing like that.

"I think the players have got a huge responsibility that if they know about it they have got to report it. The players have got to police it."

Angus Fraser, former England fast bowler

Mr Fraser said the case could mark a "watershed" for cricket.

"It shows young cricketers that there is a consequence to their behaviour. In the past players have been banned and then they have come back," he told BBC 5Live.

"The International Cricket Council has got to support the players, see these signs and help them out of predicaments, but also see (that) if players do commit these offences they are punished severely."

England and Wales Cricket Board

The ECB did not comment directly on the case, but chief executive David Collier said bringing criminal cases against corrupt players should prove to be a "firm deterrent" to others.

In a statement, Mr Collier said: "Integrity and fair play are the foundations for any sporting contest. The ECB fully supports the work of the ICC (International Cricket Council) anti-corruption unit.

"We have established a unit at Lord's to both educate players and officials and seek to protect the integrity of the sport and we hope that criminal proceedings will act as a strong and firm deterrent to complement this work."

Nasser Hussain, former England captain

"It's quite a sad day for cricket. It's not something I'd cheer about," Hussain told Sky Sports News.

"It's been rumbling on in the background for over a decade now. It is now a criminal offence to cheat in sport and because of that sting operation these [players] have been found out.

"It's probably a day cricket needed, just to send out a very strong message to everyone that it's not just going to be the odd ban here or there, and something that's going to be papered over. It's a message to the ICC that we're going to be strong with match-fixers and cheaters, whether it's one no-ball, two no-balls or whatever, it just should not happen."

Hugh Robertson, Sports Minister

"This is a sad day for international cricket and sport in general. The integrity of sport is absolutely paramount. Fans have to be sure that what they see in front of them is true and fair.

"There needs to be a global effort on sports betting integrity and this is something that the International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has taken a lead on, heading up a high-level working group that I sit on.

"International sports bodies and governments need to work together and do everything possible to stamp out the threat of corruption in sport."

Yawar Saeed, former Pakistan manager

When corruption allegations first surfaced, he said the players had failed to heed his warnings about outside influences.

He told cricket website Cricinfo: "It is a very disappointing and sad day for us in one way, for the players and for Pakistan cricket to be caught up in criminal proceedings. But they did something wrong and they had to pay the price for it.

"As manager, I had spoken to all the players on that tour and had talked about focusing on cricket and keeping their eye on the ball, but in the case of some, they didn't.

"I think the impact of the entire incident has already been felt months ago, when the case first came up, when the players were banned by the ICC. What is required now is to forget everything and move ahead."

More on this story

  • Cricketers guilty of betting scam