UK: Cricketers found guilty of match-fixing

UK: Two Pakistani cricketers were found guilty today of a match-fixing plot during last year’s tour of England.

Former Test captain Salman Butt, 27, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, plotted to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test as part of a lucrative betting scam.

The pair were caught after an undercover reporter recorded UK-based sports agent Mazhar Majeed, 36, boasting of how he could arrange for Pakistan cricketers to rig games for money.

Majeed claimed he had been carrying out match-fixing for two-and-a-half years and had made “masses and masses of money”.

He spoke of the advantages of “grooming” younger cricketers to work with him and bragged that he had seven players in Pakistan’s national side rigging games for him.

The corrupt agent also discussed deliberately losing the Oval Test match against England last summer for over a million dollars and plotted to fix games at last year’s Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.

The fixing scandal emerged after the News of the World’s former investigations editor, Mazher Mahmood, approached Majeed in August last year pretending to be a wealthy Indian businessman seeking major international cricketers for a tournament.

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The agent was secretly filmed accepting �150,000 in cash from the journalist as part of an arrangement to rig games.

Majeed promised the reporter that Asif and fellow fast bowler Mohammad Amir, 19, would deliver three no-balls at specific points during the Lord’s Test between Pakistan and England from August 26 to 29 last year.

The no-balls were bowled exactly as promised. The probability of someone predicting this by chance was estimated by a cricket statistician as 1.5 million to one.

Butt and Asif both strenuously denied any involvement in match-fixing.