Cricket - Two Pakistan umpires banned on corruption charges

The Pakistan Cricket Board has banned umpires Nadeem Ghouri and Anis Siddiqui for four and three years respectively after they were found guilty of being willing to compromise their integrity in discharge of their professional duties.

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Ghouri a former test spinner who has umpired test and one-day internationals in his 13 years as an umpire, was banned after the PCB integrity committee found him guilty of agreeing to extend undue favours for material gains during a sting operation carried out by the Indian television channel "India TV".

"Anis Siddiqui who is a domestic umpire with lesser experience of eight years appeared to initially resist the offers in the sting operation but later he also succumbed to material gains and is banned for three years," said a PCB statement on Saturday.

The pair, along with umpires from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, were involved in a sting operation carried out by the channel last October in which reporters posing as agents offered them bribes to give undue favor in matches.

"The PCB has a zero tolerance policy for corruption or indiscipline. We are committed to creating awareness amongst our players and officials with regards to the possible pitfalls," PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf said.

"We are determined to adopt all vigilance and security parameters, which are in line with the laid out procedures of the ICC. Today's decision reiterates the commitment of the PCB to keep our great sport free of all corrupt practices."

Ghouri, 50, who officiated in five tests, 43 one-day internationals and four Twenty20 internationals from 2000 to 2010, denied the charges.

"It is a big shock to me," he told Reuters. "I will be consulting my lawyers and associates to see what I should do now. I have never indulged in corruption in my life as player or umpire."

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