Asif and Butt are free to play the sport at domestic and international levels after fulfilling specific conditions laid down by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal. © AFP

Asif and Butt are free to play the sport at domestic and international levels after fulfilling specific conditions laid down by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal. © AFP

Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt will be eligible to return to competitive cricket on September 2.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday (August 19) that the sanctions against the two Pakistan players, who were found guilty of spot-fixing along with Mohammad Amir during the Lord’s Test against England in 2010, will expire at midnight on September 1.

Amir — the youngest of the tainted trio — will also be eligible to return to cricket at international level at the same time, having been given permission to return to play domestic cricket in Pakistan earlier this year.

Butt, who is likely to play for Lahore Blues in the National Twenty20 starting early next month, said he was relieved on hearing the decision. “I welcome ICC’s decision and thank everyone who supported me throughout my bad time,” Butt told AFP. “It’s like a new lifeline for me and it’s only me who can understand what this means for me.

“I can’t explain how much I am excited about regaining my bread and butter again. I have suffered enough and I am a changed man now and learnt my lesson. I will continue to play my cricket with good spirit.”

The release also stated that Asif and Butt were free to play the sport at domestic and international levels after fulfilling specific conditions laid down by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal.

Headed by Michael Beloff, the tribunal had imposed a sanction of five years on Amir, seven years on Asif (of which the final two years were suspended on specified conditions) and 10 years on Butt (of which the final five years were suspended on specified conditions) following a six-day hearing in Qatar on February 5, 2011.

All three players remain bound to comply with the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and the anti-corruption rules of all National Cricket Federations.

The release added that ‘should commit any further act of corrupt conduct they are liable to (i) further separate disciplinary proceedings for breaches of the relevant Code or rules and (ii) in the case of Asif and Butt and where such breach occurs during the suspended part of their original period of ineligibility, the activation of that suspended period of ineligibility.