| GEO Sports|
PCB says no suspensions over betting probe
| Updated at: 0844 PST, Wednesday, September 01, 2010|
TAUNTON: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Tuesday it would not suspend players embroiled in betting scam allegations while the claims are investigated, though they are set to miss the next match.
Meanwhile British authorities revealed they had made three arrests on money laundering grounds, which sources confirmed were linked to the cricket scandal.
Though the PCB has said it will not suspend the players, they are travelling to London on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with officials, which will effectively rule them out of contention for Pakistan's next match, against county side Somerset in Taunton on Thursday.
A PCB spokesman told media: "Chairman Ijaz Butt just told me that since there is a case going on with the Scotland Yard we are not going to suspend any player.
"He further said that this is only an allegation so far. There is still no charge or proof on that account. So at this stage there will be no action taken."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has promised "prompt and decisive action" if the "spot-fixing" allegations made by a British newspaper are proven.
Customs officials in Britain said they had arrested and bailed two men and a woman from London on Sunday as part of an investigation into money laundering. A source confirmed the arrests were linked to the cricket scandal.
They were a man and a woman, both 35, from Croydon in south London and a 49-year-old man from Wembley in northwest London.
"These individuals were arrested, questioned and have been bailed pending further investigation," Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs said in a statement.
The News of the World tabloid alleges that Mazhar Majeed, a 35-year-old Croydon-based agent for several Pakistan players, took 150,000 pounds (185,000 euros, 230,000 dollars) to arrange for deliberate no-balls to be bowled at precise points in the final Test match against England in London last week.
The information would be of enormous value to the spot-betting industry, where money is wagered on specific incidents in matches.
The beleaguered Pakistan team was training for the rest of the tour in Taunton, southwest England.
But three of the players named in the allegations -- Test team captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif -- have been summoned to a meeting with top Pakistani officials in London.
Team manager Yawar Saeed said they would meet with Ijaz Butt and Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner (ambassador) to Britain.
It appears increasingly likely the three players will play no part in the rest of the tour, which comprises two Twenty20 matches and a five-match one-day international series against England.
A UK newspaper said the ICC had informally asked Pakistan for the named players to be dropped from the squad.
Citing ICC sources, other reports claimed that the same players had been under investigation for months by their anti-corruption unit.
Pakistan held a training session Tuesday at the County Ground in Taunton, but reporters were barred on the request of the Pakistan team.
Somerset Chief Executive Richard Gould told media: "I think in these particular circumstances, we understand."
The world of cricket has reacted with shock and dismay to claims that huge sums of money had changed hands in alleged fixing schemes at international level, linked to shadowy betting rings.
The News of the World claimed it had paid middleman Majeed for advance details of three no-balls in the Test match at Lord's.
Majeed was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers in the wake of the allegations, but was released on bail without charge on Sunday.
Detectives interviewed Test captain Butt, plus bowlers Asif and 18-year-old prodigy Aamer, who delivered the no-balls -- normally an accidental and unpredictable occurrence -- and police seized their mobile phones.
Investigators from the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit are in Britain looking into the allegations.
Agent Umran Khan, who represents several Pakistan players not named in the allegations, including one-day captain Shahid Afridi, repeated this, telling PakPassion.net: "My players have absolutely nothing to do with it."