LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced that it will be filing an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, against the reduction of controversial batsman Umar Akmal’s ban for breaching the PCB Anti-Corruption Code. The decision was made following a review of the detailed order of the independent adjudicator, whereby the length of Umar’s ban has been reduced from 36 months to 18 months (running concurrently) on grounds of taking a compassionate view. Under Article 7.5.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code, an appeal against the decision of the independent adjudicator lies exclusively before the CAS. The CAS is an institution independent of any sports organisation which provides for services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world. The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS). The CAS has nearly 300 arbitrators from 87 countries, chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law. Around 300 cases are registered by the CAS every year. A PCB spokesman said on Monday the board takes matters relating to anti-corruption very seriously and firmly maintains a zero-tolerance approach. “The PCB believes a senior cricketer like Umar was aware of the consequences when, after having attended a number of anti-corruption lectures at domestic and international level, having witnessed the consequences of indulging in corrupt conduct, still failed to report the approaches to the relevant authorities. The PCB doesn’t take any pride in seeing a cricketer of Umar’s stature being banned for corruption, but as a credible and respectable institution, we need to send out a loud and clear message to all our stakeholders that there will be no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who breaches the regulations,” he said. The middle-order batsman was banned in April this year for failing to report approaches to engage in corrupt practices ahead of this year’s Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition. Umar was provisionally suspended hours before his team Quetta Gladiators were to take on Islamabad in the opening match of the 2020 PSL. He did accept then that the incidents which formed the basis of the two charges pressed against him by the PCB had taken place, but pointed out that the circumstances were such that they did not merit reporting to the PCB. Umar initially did not contest the PCB charges, foregoing the right to plea his innocence. The case was directed to the chairman of the PCB’s independent disciplinary panel who, after hearing both the PCB and Umar, handed down the three-year ban. PCB’s independent disciplinary panel chairman Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, a retired High Court judge, had observed that Umar had failed to give any plausible explanation for not reporting the matter to the PCB’s vigilance and anti-corruption departments. Umar appealed against the ban in May. An independent adjudicator, appointed by the PCB, reduced the three years ban to 18 months. Independent adjudicator Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, a retired judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, said Umar’s confession that he failed to report match-fixing approaches on two occasions had left no room for doubt as to the veracity of the charges. “The stance taken by the appellant is self-contradictory and not credit-worthy. The case against the appellant stands proved to the hilt,” the retired judge added. The spokesman said the PCB, in its commitment and drive against corruption in sports, had already submitted a draft proposal with the relevant government authorities around legislation on criminalising corruption in sports and had also reviewed the existing legislation enacted within Pakistan whilst noting that the same fail to adequately target and address corruption/illegal manipulation in sports. “In the draft paper, the PCB has proposed severe sanctions pertaining to corruption, illegal manipulation, betting, match and spot-fixing as well as aiding and abetting such conduct; and proposes the penalties to be imposed on individuals found guilty of engaging in such offences,” the spokesman added. Umar is the younger brother of former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, who played 53 Tests, 58 T20s, and 157 ODIs for Pakistan, and cousin of current captain Babar Azam. Umar has featured in 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20s, scoring 1003, 3194 and 1690 runs respectively. Umar promised a lot after making a hundred in New Zealand on his Test debut, but failed to live up to the high expectations that came with some fine performances early in his career. Constant run-ins with the authorities also marred his stop-start career. Umar had earlier escaped a PCB ban in February for allegedly making crude remarks to a trainer during a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Umar last played a Test for Pakistan in late 2009 but his most recent international appearance was in October 2019 in the T20 home series against Sri Lanka.