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    PCB accepts tribunal's ban on trio

    PCB chief Ijaz Butt said the ban on three players is \"regrettable and a sad reality which must be faced.\"

    Islamabad:The Pakistan Cricket Board on Monday backed the ICC anti-corruption tribunal which banned three Pakistan cricketers last weekend for spot fixing.

    PCB chief Ijaz Butt said the minimum suspension of five years on Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir is "regrettable and a sad reality which must be faced."

    The tribunal found all three players guilty of corruption on Saturday after allegations that they bowled no-balls at prearranged times during the fourth test against England in August last year.

    Amir's lawyer Shahid Karim has said he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, while Salman Butt has said he would consider doing so.

    The PCB initially backed the trio after a British tabloid newspaper reported the spot-fixing. It even named them in the squad to play a one-day series against England before the International Cricket Council provisionally suspended them.

    The PCB chief described the last six months as "extremely painful for Pakistan cricket.

    "I now hope this unfortunate saga is put to rest and we can concentrate on cricket," Ijaz Butt said in a statement.

    Salman Butt was given a 10-year ban with five years suspended, Asif a seven-year ban with two suspended, while Amir was banned for five years. Butt and Asif will have to take part in an anti-corruption program supervised by the PCB to avoid having the suspended parts of their sentences imposed.

    "We will see how we can help the three players with their education and rehabilitation program," the PCB chief said. "We will also continue to work with the ICC on this sensitive matter."