The Pakistan Cricket Board has rejected reports that suspended Test captain Salman Butt is set to be banned for seven years on charges of spot-fixing, saying that ICC will reach a decision only after a hearing to be held in Doha next month.
Sources in the ICC on Saturday dismissed suggestions that Butt could get a seven-year ban and be fined heavily for his involvement in the spot-fixing case while pace bowlers, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir could be banned for two years each.
"Only the three-member tribunal of the code of conduct commission can decide on the guilt or innocence of the players and until it meets and holds a hearing it cannot reach any decision," a source said.
He pointed out that the tribunal made up of three experienced judges who have been nominated on the code of conduct commission by the member boards of the ICC can only decide on the case after the players are given a chance to plead their case at the full hearing in Doha from January 6 to 11.
Another source, who is aware of the developments in the case, also made it clear that the tribunal cannot reach a decision unless it has heard all the facts at the full hearing.
"The tribunal has to decide on the merits and demerits of the case at the hearing and then reach any decision," the source added.
He said it was premature to make any suggestions that Butt could be banned for seven years or the two other players would get two year bans.
"Any suggestion that the tribunal has decided on the punishments for the players or decided on their guilt when the case is yet to heard is unfair on all parties," the source added.
He also insisted that only the tribunal can decide on the case against the three players and the ICC is not in a position to make decisions.
Butt, Amir and Asif were provisionally suspended by the ICC anti-corruption unit on September 2 while touring England with the Pakistan team after it emerged that a Pakistani bookmaker Mazhar Majeed who was their agent had bribed them to deliberately bowl no-balls during the fourth Test against England at Lords and all this is captured on video recordings released by the News of the World tabloid newspaper.
Since his suspension, Butt and Aamir have had their appeals against their suspensions rejected by a one-man tribunal of the ICC code of conduct commission.