Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also the patron-in-chief of the country’s cricket board, has approved the PCB’s plan to revise its anti-corruption code and make match-fixing a criminal offence.

According to a Pakistan Cricket Board source, the green signal came when PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani met with Imran earlier this week where the premier also gave the clearance for the national team to tour England despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Imran supported the draft copy of the new laws and advised Mani to get it cleared by the Law and other relevant ministries so that it can be tabled in the parliament and become a written law,” the source said.

Proven offenders to serve jail term

Under the new code, the board intends to criminalise match-fixing and spot-fixing and also specify punishments for offenders, including jail time.

“The new laws would give the PCB’s Anti-Corruption and security unit the power to not only probe money trails and assets off players/officials/persons but also carry out raids where required and file criminal cases,” the source said.

“Under the new laws, proven offenders will serve jail time plus the board will get powers to probe all assets and money trails of any player it suspects of being involved in corruption,” he added.

Until now, the PCB has implemented the Anti-Corruption code, which is followed by the International Cricket Council. That code does not criminalise corruption in cricket and is limited in its punishments for offenders.

Experts and analysts say that the absence of clear punishments for offenders has encouraged players to still indulge in corruption as they know they can get away with a few years ban and return to playing cricket,

Pakistan cricket has reported a number of cases where its players have been found guilty of fixing matches, accepting approaches from bookmakers, or not reporting such approaches.

The most recent example being that of Test batsman Umar Akmal who has now filed an appeal against his three-year ban before an Independent adjudicator.

More recently, a court in Manchester in the UK sent Pakistani opener Nasir Jamshed and two other bookmakers from the country to jail for corruption.

The PCB has also banned Jamshed for 10-years.

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