LONDON, ENGLAND – The world of cricket has been bowled over by the conviction of two of its top players for spot fixing, or technically, of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt money. A third player pleaded guilty, information that was made public only once the jury’s decision was in.
The trial, concluded 1 November in London, arose from a Test Match at Lords in the summer of 2011, where Pakistan played England. “Spot fixing” in this case involved the three in agreeing to exact times to bowl no-balls; spot betting is laying odds on such precise details in a match.
The three are all Pakistan team members: Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. The first two were found guilty in court Tuesday and the third, who was only 18 and one of the rising stars in the cricket world last summer, pleaded guilty before the trial. The convictions are reportedly the first under Britain’s Gambling Act, in force since 2005.
The Times of India reports that the ICC, cricket’s international body, is investigating other matches. “It is suspected that spot-fixing took place in other matches of the tour and that more players could come under scrutiny.”
The three face up to seven years in prison. Sentencing will be next week.
Butt’s wife gave birth to a baby one hour before the conviction was announced.