Match fixing sentences

It all seems a bit harsh to me.

They already have career destroying bans from the ICC but imprisonment!

Agent Mazhar Majeed was jailed for two years and eight months for his role in the fixing.

Pakistan Test cricket captain Salman Butt jailed for 30 months.

Former world number two Test bowler Mohammad AsifΒ  jailed for one year for his involvement.

Mohammed Amir sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going soft, in fact I’d lock up the agent and throw away the key, and Salmaan Butt, well he can sit, he should have known better and it appears that it was he who recruited the other two.

I remember the Hanse Cronje scandal, he was quite rightly banned for life, but the guys that he involved, where are they now? Well two of them have just finished playing in the Champions League Trophy in India (of all places).

Sure, the culprits have to be punished, but jail?

Not for me, not today.

49 thoughts on “Match fixing sentences”

  1. What’s your problem?

    They have cast a shadow of doubt over every match they’ve ever played in. Butt was the flaming captain, FFS. IMHO they all got off very lightly.

    They committed a crime, now they can do the time.

    I hope this sends a firm message to Pakistan and the ICC – “Don’t mess with our cricket!”

  2. Banning for life, fines, whatever, but I don’t think they should be imprisoned.

    Sad that they have betrayed their country, their team members and brought the game into disrepute, but prison, no.

  3. Any other confidence trickster or Ponsi schemer would have been jailed – why shouldn’t these guys get prison sentences? Could Soutie or Araminta explain, please, because this Bear genuinely doesn’t understand why you think they should have been let off? πŸ˜•

  4. Fraud is a crime carrying a jail sentence – what’s the difference between business fraud and sport fraud – not a lot, I reckon.

    They want to grateful that they will serve their sentence in a UK jail, and not in Pakistan…

  5. Hi Bearsy.

    I have said before that I believe that custodial sentences should really be for people who are a danger to society or habitual offenders.

    In my opinion, it rarely acts as a deterrent, and there are more appropriate means of punishment. It seems to me that taking away one’s career, and likelihood plus the shame, is quite sufficient punishment.

    We already have far too many people in prison in the UK.

  6. Thanks, Araminta.

    So I guess that in your book the fraudster who diddles a little old lady out of her life savings shouldn’t be jailed either? Or at least not until he’s done it to two little old ladies?

    Sorry, I don’t agree. 😦

    It’s lucky they weren’t tried under Pakistan’s Sharia Law – they would in all probability be missing a hand and foot by now.

  7. No, it is not quite that simple, Bearsy.

    But, it is rare that the little old lady is recompensed, and I doubt she is much comforted by the thought that the fraudster is in prison. There must surely be better ways to deal with this sort of thing?

    I may, of course, be impossibly naive.

  8. Regarding Sharia and fraud.

    Interesting, but my feeling is that Sharia would be more interested in restitution in this case, but I’ll have a Google.

  9. When I saw the covert footage of the ‘agent’ sitting in a hotel room with Β£160,000 in notes in front of him on a coffee table my gut reaction was, “lock the fokkers up and throw away the key”. On mature reflection that remains my position and I would add a lifetime ban from cricket for all currently or subsequently concerned.


  10. I’m four-square with Bearsy on this one.

    Ara, they didn’t even got close to being banned for life by the ICC, They got a pathetic five years and they’ve had the utter brass neck to appeal against that piddling little ban. They committed a criminal offence and they deserve to suffer the consequences of their actions. Whether or not you personally believe that a jail sentence is appropriate, it is the law at present that one runs the risk of getting banged up if found guilty of corruption.

    Some sympathy for Amir because of his youth and background but he’s going to a Young Offenders Institution and not prison and I do hope that he will, in time, be given another chance. The rest of them deserve everything they are getting, in my opinion,

    I hope that it has the desired salutary effect on cricket..As Mr Justice Cooke said in sentencing them ‘…..The image and integrity of what was once a game but is now a business is damaged in the eyes of all, including the many youngsters who regarded you as as heroes and would have given their eye teeth to play at the levels and with the skills that you had.’

    In sum, it’s an Immanuel Kant/Admiral Byng thing for me. Retribution in the case of the individuals concerned and and deterrence for others. I just hope that it encourages everybody else in the game to stay honest, if only for the fear of the consequences. .

  11. Thank you, for the background, Mr. Mackie.

    I thought they were banned from playing cricket for life. Of course it still doesn’t change my opinion on the efficacy or otherwise of custodial sentences, but I appreciate what you are saying.

  12. Yes, I can see your point of view but I still think it’s rather an excessive sentence.

    Sorry. 😦

    I was going to say it’s only a game, but I appreciate it is rather more than that.

  13. I get rather tired of the idea that somehow judicial sentences have to ‘reform’ – what happened to ‘punishment’?

    I’ll get my coat… πŸ™‚

  14. Yes yes yes. I’m now temporarily, of course, top author, commenter, and both my posts are leading the field!

    Not that this is important of course. 😯

  15. I predict that the next scandal will come in football (soccer) where whole teams have the official sponsorship logos of internet betting companies on their shirts. Betting and sport has become uncomfortably close in recent years and it can only end in tears and prison sentences.

    Imagine if a racehorse were owned by a bookie, for example (which I am sure there already are.) What was once an innocent flutter on the Derby or the Gand National by Joe Public has become ‘big business’. And when you can bet on the odds of whether a bowler will bowl a ‘no ball’ in a particular over then you just know there is ample room for corruption.


  16. … who believes in disenfranchising the workers in favour of the rich.

    Do you have a good priest? πŸ™„

  17. Is there actually a difference between sports fraud and business fraud?
    There is a definite business element to sports. There are the contracts,
    the funding issues, payments, schedules, and facilities. There is always an
    overriding financial interest in it. It could well be argued that sports have become
    business. The sport itself is a service provided.

  18. Hello everybody some interesting comments and questions, I’ll start at the top and work my way down.

    Bearsy you ask “what’s your (my) problem” and “why you(I) think they should have been let off?”

    Nowhere have I suggested this in fact in the post I quite clearly state “I’d lock up the agent and throw away the key, and Salmaan Butt, well he can sit” (sit being a term used for jailtime)

    No, I’m of the opinion that the custodial sentences handed to the two bowlers is too harsh, they both now have criminal records, destroyed careers and I honestly don’t see how 6 months (does he get 3 off for good behaviour) in a Young Offenders Institution is appropriate. I’d have been happy with suspended sentences for the bowlers.

    Boadicea the crime(s) were committed in London so quite rightly they will be serving their sentences in Britain.

    John Mackie states “They got a pathetic five years” he’s wrong.

    Butt (aged 26 at the time) got a 10 year ban, effectively ending his career (report here), Asif (27) got 7 years (2 suspended) and Amir (18) got 5. JM also tells us that he has ‘sympathy’ for Amir, me too which was the point of my post!

    I’m not sure if Araminta is half agreeing with me or not. I’m firmly of the opinion that custodial sentences are correct for the ‘masterminds / ringleaders ( the agent and Butt) but not the other 2.

    Bearsy’s Brisbane times link is by no means a comprehensive background but a mere commentary on the trial, nothing is mentioned of the implementation and extent of the ICC punishments.

    I fear that Oz’s prediction may well come to pass, if it hasn’t already. Governing bodies and administrators have to do more to stamp this out but as most of them are merely in it for themselves (ala FIFA) I doubt if we will see them rocking their respective gravy trains.

  19. Morning Soutie

    Sorry. I should not have paraphrased. From your own source:-

    ‘Butt’s 10-year ban includes five years suspended β€” meaning he will be out of the game until at least 2016.’

    That’s effectively a five year ban for me since I very much doubt that Butt will attempt to do anything which might bring the suspended part of his ban into play. Same with Asif.

  20. Thank you JM, my apologies. I missed the suspended bit on Butt.

    Agree with your comment about them behaving in future but I doubt if either will ever get close to national honours either as a player, coach or administrator in the future.

  21. Presumably you do not view their actions as a genuine crime, Soutie.
    Sorry, but I do.
    Amir has been let off very lightly by a kindly judge and should be grateful for it – he’s a very naughty boy! πŸ™„ [Monty Python]

  22. Bearsy of course I do, I simply don’t see how 6 months(or is it 3?) is appropriate.

    I’m happy with them being banned, pleased that they have a criminal record but I suppose that we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the appropriateness of the jail term!

    Please remember that I have quite clearly stated that in my opinion the agents sentence was too lenient.

  23. It’s 3, then 3 months ‘at liberty but on licence’.
    Why is the agent any more guilty than the rest of them?
    But don’t bother answering. As you say, we’ll have to agree to disagree. πŸ™‚

  24. Yes, but does JM mean Kant or Voltaire? I must know!

    You see, Voltaire claimed that Byng was executed ‘pour encourager les autres’. This would support JM’s position that a message needed to be sent out to other players that cheating in cricket will not be tolerated.

    Kantian philosophy, on the other hand argues that it is always wrong to use people as a means to an end. This appears to counter the view taken by Mr M.

  25. Morning Sipu

    I meant both Kant and Voltaire (by metonymy with the use of Byng).

    Kant for the retributive effect of the sentences on the individuals concerned as in his belief that:-

    ‘Judicial punishment ………… must in all cases be imposed on him only on the ground that he has committed a crime;’

    Voltaire and the ‘pour encourager les autres’ argument for the deterrent effect on others.

    I thought that the sentences contained both elements. Perhaps my intended meaning would have been clearer had I written:-

    In sum, it’s an Immanuel Kant/Admiral Byng thing for me. Retribution in the case of the individuals concerned/deterrence for others.

  26. JM, I won’t dare suggest that you made an excellent recovery with your #41 πŸ˜‰ . No doubt it was what you meant all along, despite the relative obscurity of that particular metonymy. Joshing aside, however, I am not sure that the two can be placed side by side. (Has this discussion occurred before, I am getting a feeling of deja vu?). If you support one, you cannot support the other.

  27. Haw Sipu. Your #42.

    As you probably well know, the amour propre of a Jock is an awesome thing. It’s just as well that we are such an humble and self-effacing race.

    I assure you that my reference to Byng was utterly deliberate and intended to lead the reader to Voltaire, ‘pour encourager’, utilitarianism and deterrence in juxtaposition to Kant and retribution. That’s why I used the word ‘encourages’ in the last sentence of my #11. Just glad that you got the reference even if you do not appear to believe that I meant to make it in the first place.

    Moving on to the last sentence of your #42. ‘If you support one, you cannot support the other.’ Why not? The sentences seem to me to be sufficiently punitive for the individuals concerned and heavy enough to make others think twice about following their example. Ticks the boxes of both retribution and deterrence for me at one and the same time.

  28. Howzit Bearsy

    I often disagree with Geoff Boycott I certainly don’t consider him the be all and end all of things cricket.

    However, reading his article I noticed that we share a lot of common ground

  29. Soutie :

    Howzit Bearsy

    I certainly don’t consider him the be all and end all of things cricket.

    Nor do I; I merely thought that it was a view worth reading.

  30. Again, late I am to this discussion too.

    Prison is the right decision for me. They showed no remorse and are still in denial. The ICC haven’t been able to sort it out so the law has to. As those have said above, sport isn’t any different from business – the amounts of money involved is frightening.

    Detention is primarily a deterrent (it certainly isn’t a punishment these days) and this sends out a strong message to those players thinking of taking an extra bob or two.

    The sad thing is, the Pakistan players are the lowest paid professional in the world so are tempted more than most. However, Warne, Cronje, Gough and co weren’t dealt with appropriately when this issue started rearing its ugly head many moons ago, so the system is partly to blame.

    I hope they see the error of their ways whilst behind bars and then spend their time afterwards using their talents to help grass roots cricket giving back to the game that gave them so much.

  31. Cuprum

    Delighted to see that you agree with me! i had to ask Bearsy about Warne, Conje etc – and it would seem that the ICC haven’t taken the problem seriously enough.

    As to your comment that prison isn’t much of a deterrent – see my observation that they should count their blessings that they are being jailed in the UK and not in Pakistan – that would prove to be a real deterrent… πŸ™‚

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