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Pakistan's Butt, Asif, Aamer suspended by ICC - Mr.Bhat - 09-03-2010

The International Cricket Council said on Thursday it has charged Pakistan's Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif with various offences under its anti-corruption code.

The players "have been officially notified of the offences they are alleged to have committed and have been provisionally suspended pending a decision on those charges", the ICC said in a statement on its website.

"In accordance with the provisions of the code, this means they are immediately barred from participating in all cricket and related activities until the case has been concluded."

Test captain Butt and fast bowlers Aamer and Asif were all named in a News of the World report which alleged they were involved in a "spot-fixing" scam by bowling deliberate no-balls in last week's Test match with England in exchange for cash.

The trio have protested their innocence and the ICC said they have the right to contest their suspension, and have two weeks to request a hearing before anti-corruption tribunal where they can defend themselves.

However, ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We will not tolerate corruption in cricket - simple as that.

"We must be decisive with such matters and if proven, these offences carry serious penalties up to a life ban.

"The ICC will do everything possible to keep such conduct out of the game and we will stop at nothing to protect the sport's integrity. While we believe the problem is not widespread, we must always be vigilant."