Cricket: Pakistan players charged over corruption

Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, together with their agent, have been charged with corruption offences, England's prosecution service said on Friday.

The charges relate to alleged incidents during a Test match against England last year when Britain's News of the World tabloid claimed the players, together with agent Mazhar Majeed, were willing to deliberately bowl no-balls.

The newspaper alleged the players had colluded in a spot-fixing betting scam.

Simon Clements, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division in a statement, said: "We have decided that Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent, Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat.

"These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on 26 and 27 August 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London."

The statement said the three Pakistan players had been asked to appear in court in London on March 17. They have been told to return "voluntarily" to Britain for the hearing or prosecutors will seek their extradition.

Britain-based Majeed must also appear on the same date at the same court, City of Westminster Magistrates.

The Pakistan trio are currently provisionally suspended from international cricket but a separate International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal is on Saturday due to announce its conclusions following its own probe.

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