The Court of Arbitration (CAS) has reduced Umar Akmal’s suspension tenure to 12 months, pronouncing its verdict on the appeals filed by the cricketer as well as the Pakistan Cricket Board. Akmal, 30, who was suspended on February 20, 2020 just before last year’s Pakistan Super League, is now eligible to be reintegrated into competitive cricket provided he deposits a fine of PKR 4.25 million and undergoes a rehabilitation program as per PCB’s anti-corruption code.
On April 27, 2020, Akmal was originally slapped with a three-year ban by a PCB disciplinary panel for failing twice to report corrupt approaches ahead of the 2020 edition of the PSL. He was provisionally suspended on February 17, 2020, and withdrawn from PSL 2020, before being formally charged by the PCB for breaches of Article 2.4.4 “Failing to disclose to the PCB Vigilance and Security Department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in Corrupt Conduct under this Anti-Corruption Code”.
The batsman appealed against the verdict and following a trial procedure with an independent adjudicator, Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, a former Supreme Court judge, had his sanction halved to 18 months in July last year. Against this Order, PCB and Umar Akmal both approached the CAS. PCB’s appeal was against the reduction of the sentence whereas Akmal argued that length of the suspension was harsh in view of verdicts in similar cases against Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Irfan. By winning the trial, Akmal has shaved off another six months of his original sentence.
The CAS however, refused Akmal’s request seeking return of his two mobile phones, which remain in PCB’s custody as part of another investigation and held that under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code the board had the power to do so.