Banned by the ICC and facing criminal charges in England, the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamir have been dealt another blow with the Pakistan Cricket Board asking them to fight their legal battles independently.
Butt, Asif and Aamir have been given clear indications by the board that it can't help them out in fighting their case in the magistrate's court in Westminster on March 17 -- the date the three have been asked to appear to face the charges.
The Scotland Yard has charged the trio with accepting bribes and trying to commit fraud and the Crown Prosecution Office has sent the case for regular hearing after finding enough evidence to support the allegations.
"The PCB has nothing to do with this case as well as the three are now banned by the ICC and the PCB being a full member of the ICC has to follow the rules and regulations and can't provide them with any help or assistance at all in this case," a board official said.
He pointed out that the PCB had initially provided legal assistance to the players in London when the Scotland Yard first charged them last year in September and the ICC also suspended them on spot-fixing allegations.
"But now since the three have been banned and found guilty by the ICC tribunal the PCB can't do anything. We had even tried to send our observer to the hearing of the tribunal in Doha but this request was not accepted by the ICC under its anti-corruption code," he said.
He made it clear that the players would have to hire lawyers on their own to defend themselves in the magistrate's court next month in London.
"We had hired British barrister, Elizabeth Robertson last year to assist them but now if they want they can hire her independently," he added.
Butt, Asif and Aamir were banned on February 5 by the ICC tribunal and have to file an appeal against their bans with the international court of arbitration for sports in Geneva by February 26. But sources said the trio's lawyers had tried to approach the ICC tribunal to extend the deadline of 21-days to after the magistrate's hearing in London on March 17.
"So far it is not confirmed if they have got any extension on filing their appeals against their bans," one reliable source said. The tribunal banned Butt for 10-years (five years of suspended sentence), Asif for seven years and Aamir for five years.